Star Trek: Voyager

"Homestead"

3 stars

Air date: 5/9/2001
Written by Raf Green
Directed by LeVar Burton

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"I've never seen First Contact Day celebrated quite like this. When I was your age, all it meant was a day off from school." — Janeway to Naomi

In brief: Not groundbreaking, but nice.

Neelix is a supporting character for whom the writers have never found an adequate purpose. For seven seasons he has floated here and there with a myriad of alleged duties but no real direction or strong motivations. Ethan Phillips has essentially been assigned the role of "miscellaneous character." So it's fitting, I guess, that the episode that bids Neelix adieu is one that makes the effort to show him as a Voyager crew member facing a crisis of purpose. The fact that there's a scene where Naomi Wildman tells Neelix she's too old to be tucked into bed only reinforces the issue.

The prospect of uselessness is a frightening thing, something demonstrated several years ago in a previous Neelix story, "Fair Trade." It's trite but true that most of us need to feel needed. Many who ponder the value of their lives probably hope that they have made or will make a difference to others — the greater the better.

"Homestead" takes that notion to write the final chapter for Neelix, one that is not hugely original or groundbreaking, but is pleasant and sincere nonetheless. The plot is more or less routine, but the characters are here, and the writers and actors do well for making us care about Neelix's struggles and choices.

As another example in a long history of spatial geography tricks with little regard for logic, the Voyager crew happens upon a colony of Talaxian refugees living inside an asteroid in an asteroid belt. How did they get here from their homeworld, roughly 40,000 light-years across the Delta Quadrant, in apparently only a decade or two? I don't know, and asking such a question is simply a hollow, obligatory gesture at this point. Perhaps they were as lucky as Voyager has been in finding shortcuts. Luckier still that Voyager happened upon them.

Neelix finds that being around his people rekindles feelings of home. One could argue that over the years Neelix would've come to think of Voyager as his home, but perhaps it's not that simple. Maybe he sees himself more as a traveler with a still-unknown destination. With the ostensive destination being Earth — a planet he's never seen — his own people can certainly be a strong reminder of his previous home.

The overriding plot is a relatively hoary exercise in which one group of people are threatened by another, more unreasonable group. In this case the asteroid belt is going to be mined by the aliens who own it. They don't intend to let something silly like a Talaxian homestead stand in the way of profits and efficiency schedules. The Talaxian asteroid is the proverbial house that needs to be razed in order for the proverbial new highway to go through — although not really, since it stands to reason that the miners could simply move on and skip this one measly asteroid. Honestly, the miners might as well be wearing horns and carrying pitchforks; they growl and intimidate, even going so far as to threaten a little boy. Even their makeup design is sinister. Subtlety is not a virtue to be found here.

What works is the gradual way Neelix realizes that he must help the Talaxians protect their home. These Talaxians are primarily pacifists, but Neelix argues that their home is something worth taking a stand for, and tries to convince the passive leader, Oxilon (Rob Labelle), that running to find a new home isn't plausible forever; they've already been pushed off at least one world entirely.

Neelix's choices are in no small part affected by his emerging feelings for a widow named Dexa (Julianne Christie) and her young son, Brax (Ian Meltzer). Their scenes are handled with a quiet sincerity that works. But what I found more interesting were some of Neelix's interactions with the Voyager crew in the midst of the unfolding dilemma. There's a scene where Neelix tells Brax that his duties aren't of huge importance (and I'm inclined to agree based on evidence the series has provided), but Chakotay and Kim come to the rescue and explain Neelix's various titles and cite him as a valuable crew member.

Better still are the Tuvok/Neelix scenes. Tuvok/Neelix sequences have often been utter failures; even this year we had a stupid roommate-quarrel plot in "Prophecy," while other relatively recent episodes like "Riddles" have shown Tuvok begrudging every possible warm feeling about Neelix that might rear its head in the depths of his Vulcan heart. But here we have what should've happened a long time ago — a vocal acknowledgement from Tuvok about Neelix's strengths and resourcefulness as a potential leader, even though they might exist alongside other annoying qualities. It's perfectly worded from Tuvok, and I can't tell you how refreshing it is to see him be believably civil toward Neelix instead of needlessly cold as forced upon him by a script. Similarly, it's also nice to see Neelix acting like a real person instead of a comic annoyance who, for example, trashes Tuvok's quarters while in the throes of Klingon passion.

There's a sequence where Neelix uses his cargo ship to help install shield generators to protect the Talaxian asteroid from the alien miners. This is serviceable action storytelling, though I think the way the episode invokes the Prime Directive is erroneous: If a warp-capable group of people asks for help in defending themselves, I don't see how that's a Prime Directive issue saying Janeway can't be involved. Yes, she may be taking sides in an interstellar conflict, but that happens every day.

Ultimately, Neelix decides to stay behind with the Talaxians and start a new home when Janeway submits that perhaps this opportunity for him will also allow him to remain as an official Delta Quadrant-based ambassador for Starfleet. This is neat and tidy, perhaps, but it's certainly reasonable and allows a good send-off.

"Homestead" is not a great or inspired episode of Voyager, but it is a dignified and heartfelt one. I must admit: By the end, when Tuvok's goodbye consisted of a restrained, Tuvokian concession to dance with the heel of one foot, I was touched. The scene keeps dialog to a minimum and relies on nods and glances, providing a great example of less-is-more mentality. It's one moment that almost makes up for years of redundant banter. If dignity has been a lost virtue for Neelix as the writers have previously written him, they managed to find it here.

In brief: Doc engages in a serious role-playing game.

Previous episode: Natural Law
Next episode: Renaissance Man

◄ Season Index

67 comments on this review

Jakob M. Mokoru
Tue, Apr 8, 2008, 4:11pm (UTC -5)
It is really sort of ironic that NEELIX, of all the characters gets by far the best fare-well in not only a moment but an entire show that really touched me far more than "Endgame" ever could!
Saxman
Mon, May 5, 2008, 8:49am (UTC -5)
I agee 100% with Jakob. after the great send-off Neelix received, I was really set up for a great series finale which did NOT occur. Of course TATV was even worse, but enough has been said about that already.
Jay
Sat, Sep 5, 2009, 8:31am (UTC -5)
I still think that Votager should have gotten home in an episode immediately following Author, Author, and these last few episodes should have beden about the aftermath of that. It also would have been better for Neelix to have come all the way to Earth (something he clearly wanted to do because, unlike Seven and Naomi, he was as entranced by the telepathic pitcher plant as anyone) and we could have seen what kind of life he makes for himself within or without Starfleet. Instead we get Talaxians that are at the absolute least 60,000 light years from where they ought to be, simply for the excuse fo dropping off Neelix.
Brian
Fri, Mar 19, 2010, 11:09am (UTC -5)
The Tuvok heel dance was one of the best scenes in Trek history.
navamske
Tue, Jun 29, 2010, 10:10pm (UTC -5)
It isn't accurate to say that Neelix has never seen Earth -- he saw it in "Future's End." Nonetheless, there's a certain irony (or something) in the fact that neither of the two aliens who joined the crew in "Caretaker" specifically to be part of their journey made it all the way there ("Future's End" excepted).
Michael
Wed, Jul 21, 2010, 10:33am (UTC -5)
A jukebox? *sigh* Cochrane's favorite music is the mid-20th-century rock'n'roll? *sigh*

Another thing that, stunningly, only just struck me: How subpar Voyager's (and Star Trek's) technology is. I mean, there's Paris piloting the shuttle to the asteroid, there's a minor explosion nearby and the shuttle loses its shields and is forced to crash-land. Add to that the incessant instances of critical systems malfunctioning and it's as if Windows 98 was the epitome of stability and reliability compared to the 24th-century stuff. How did Voyager and the other starships pass Q.A., I'll never know. Why would you send a starship on intergalactic odysseys when any minor spatial or temporal fluctuation (or, keyword: Anomaly) can wreak havoc with pretty much every one of its mainframe systems!?! It's like Boeing manufacturing an airplane that has to be crash-landed every third flight it makes!!

Be that as it may, for someone without "an adequate purpose," Neelix sure emanaged to annoy the living hell out of me. His incessant joviality, which he insists on foisting on everyone else, whether they feel like partaking or not is infuriating enough. But he also has the deep, caring, sensitive emotional side *puke* which means that, whenever there's anyone with even a hint of a personal problem, there he is ready to analyze it and talk about it for at least ten minutes, in the most boring Dr.-Phil-style manner conceivable. Even if it's not a problem, there's inevitable a scene of him in every third episode giving Seven or Naomi or The Doc or Icheb or whoever a pep-talk, encouraging them to be more human, find themselves and all that. ARGH!!! The one time I remember not minding him was when he boned that Klingon woman a few episodes back. I find it impossible to believe he did that but it was so out of his usual boring/annoying character that I quite liked it, especially because he's the antithesis of an alpha-male. (Then again, there is NO alpha-male on Voyager - except Acoushla Moya during his "native" moments -, but plenty of alpha-females: How "enlightened" and "progressive"!)

Having said that, I liked him in this episode, particularly in the second half. He transformed into someone of substance, rather than being just an irritating-as-a-fly clown. He even called Tuvok "Mr. Tuvok," as opposed to that derisive "Mr. Vulcan." It was quite touching and I particularly appreciated there not having been long and emotional goodbyes. Despite my distaste for Neelix, the end of the show was quite stirring.
Paul
Thu, Sep 9, 2010, 12:20pm (UTC -5)
Michael - Cochrane's favorite music wasn't an imagining of Voyager's writers, it was presented in First Contact.

About this episode, it was a nice send off. Though I had no attachment to Neelix whatsoever. The only sympathy I felt was for the crew because I knew they would be sad at seeing him go.
Cloudane
Mon, Apr 11, 2011, 2:33pm (UTC -5)
A great goodbye for Neelix. Whilst I question the choice to dedicate an episode to that particular character, that's what they wanted to do and so their passion came through.

It was kind of sad that Naomi's last words to him were that she doesn't need him - it was the trigger he needed to move on, but how about some kind words after she finds out he's leaving? He's practically her dad. But never mind.

Touching final scenes - how fitting that the most poignant part should be Tuvok's perfectly Vulcan goodbye: he's as careful as ever to supposedly not express emotion, yet anyone can tell just how heartfelt it really was. A much more sincere ending to that kind of friendship (the very well hidden one that makes them seem pretty much like enemies to an unknowing observer) than what they did with Odo and Quark in DS9.

3-3.5. Downhill we go to the finish line..
Kieran
Thu, Jun 2, 2011, 8:19am (UTC -5)
I really liked this one actually. I was very surprised Neelix actually left in the end - I was sure he'd change his mind last minute. It wasn't til the credits came up that I actually accepted he was gone. Loved the final scene between him and Tuvok - I've always liked episodes that focused on their relationship (which I guess puts me in the minority here). Though I agree Naomi should have got a goodbye too.
Jay
Sat, Sep 24, 2011, 10:07pm (UTC -5)
Didn't Neelix have yellow irises in the early years?
Jay
Sat, Sep 24, 2011, 10:42pm (UTC -5)
And with Naomi there in Neelix's exodus walk through the corridor, it was really obvious that Samantha Wildman was missing...this episode would hasve been a good reason to bring that actress back.
Kristen
Tue, Jan 3, 2012, 10:08am (UTC -5)
Insert picture of a ham with a pen stuck in it.
Captain Jim
Tue, Jun 12, 2012, 10:34pm (UTC -5)
I pretty much agree with what everyone else has said.

I just wanted to add that it was good to see Naomi Wildman back in this episode. Not sure how long it had been since we'd seen her, but it seemed like a very long time. And she looked noticeably older here.
Jack
Fri, Jun 22, 2012, 1:36pm (UTC -5)
So where did that last scene with Naomi and Neelix take place? Does Naomi have her own quarters? I assume it's her mother's quarters, but it makes it all the more glaring that Samantha Wildman wasn't in this episode...
odysey
Thu, Nov 22, 2012, 6:33am (UTC -5)
Hate to sound cruel but they should of killed samantha when she decided to not do the show anymore. Could of made for some interesting episodes.
KL
Fri, May 3, 2013, 3:30pm (UTC -5)
Now in the midst of watching Voyager's pre-Seven years, I can see how Neelix became one of the more disliked characters. Given his personality in the first couple of seasons, one should wonder what was Janeway thinking when she made him a morale officer. Those who gave up the show never saw the gradual transformation of the character into someone more likeable and sympathetic.
Adara
Sat, May 18, 2013, 9:20pm (UTC -5)
Where is Samantha Wildman? You'd think the writers would at least make some attempt to explain her absence. I know Voyager had lazy writers but this was just ridiculous. Why didn't they just kill her off if they were never going to show her again? Samantha's absence has gone from a funny continuity error to a genuinely disturbing show of neglect. All it would have taken is one line to explain why she's never there, and the writers couldn't even do that. Shameful.
ProgHead777
Tue, Jul 2, 2013, 7:31am (UTC -5)
I have watched Voyager in its entirety three times now over the last decade and some change. In the previous viewings, I was as devout a Neelix hater as you are likely to find. I called him the Jar-Jar Binks of the Star Trek universe. I cheered at the scene where a mentally disturbed Tuvok strangled a holographic simulation of him to death. I frequently implored various other crew members on the other side of the TV screen to "accidentally" beam him into cold, dark, airless space. I loathed him to the point that I would seriously consider skipping and episode where he was the central character.

In this round, however, things were different for some reason. Perhaps it's simply that I've softened with age. I really don't know. At some point during my current Voyager review, I realized that Neelix's most irritating qualities were to be found mostly in the first three seasons or so. After that, he became very much a background character and his scenes were usually of comedic intent and I must admit they were, more often than not, successful in that intent. Interspersed throughout were some genuinely poignant moments (but never anything too profound or moving). I can't really account for it, but somewhere along the way in this third round I began to like Neelix. IT'S CRAZY, I KNOW! And in fact, I didn't even realize the extent of it myself until this episode. The scene where Neelix walks along the corridor lined with Voyager crew members assembled to bid him final farewell reduced me to a hot, sobbing mess, and I simply cannot explain why. I think it comes down to Ethan Phillips. As poorly written a character as Neelix was, Mr. Phillips brought a sincerity to the part that I, eventually, just couldn't resist. I was sad to see him go.
Leah
Mon, Jul 22, 2013, 11:02pm (UTC -5)
I thought it was a wonderful episode. I've never hated Neelix. Everybody knows someone like him: almost annoyingly upbeat and optimistic, but who wears his heart on his sleeve and would give you the shirt off his back. His worst years were when he was with Kes, because he was a one-note jealous toad at times and their relationship never felt genuine or right.

Now, I loved Kes and was sorry to see her go, but it did wonders for Neelix's character. He actually developed...well, as much as Voyager would allow. I grew to care about him and like him, with the occasional annoyance still seeping in from time to time.

Anyway, this episode was heartfelt and touching. I, too, was moved at his farewell on the ship, but I was also very moved when he walked in and embraced Dexa and Brax. The look on his face said everything. It was so sweet.

It just goes to show you that Ethan Phillips was quite capable of conveying great depth of feeling. He just didn't often get a chance to because the writers couldn't decide if they wanted him to be a cartoon character, the comic relief, or an actual character with real feelings and depth.

Oh, I wanted to mention, I really liked the voice of the actress playing Dexa. It had a really nice dulcet quality, and being under all of that make-up, having a pleasant voice can only help.
azcats
Tue, Sep 3, 2013, 11:09am (UTC -5)
I agree with Leah and Proghead777. best thing that happened to neelix was losing Kes. I liked when they turned him into a "counselor" instead of a "clown."

he was much better in seasons 4-7.

as was the Voyager Show.

I enjoyed this episode. and unlike most 1 episode romances, i believed in this one. maybe because they were from the same species.

in any case, i loved the final scene and how there was little words. i agree...less was more.

tuvoks dance was great. although... a smile would have been good too..as he had been dared by neelix in the past too.

great ending.

3.5 stars.
Jo Jo Meastro
Sun, Oct 20, 2013, 10:02am (UTC -5)
If you had asked me after the pilot what my feelings would be if Neelix left for good, I would have told you the sooner the better and I'll shout with joy as he departs.

Little did I realise I'd grow to like him inspite or because of what a big goofy teddy bear he is and underneath all his earnest smiles was a wonderfully kind soul. He has his troubles and there's such sadness lingering deep within him, which is what drives him to surround himself and everyone in his life with happiness. He bounces off and needs everyone, just as much as they bounce off and need him.

I think that's why he craves attention from Tuvok and to melt that icey Vulcan exterior; it's what keeps him going and we've seen just how hard it hits whenever his bubble gets burst and when no one wants to be a part of his useless, fuzzy, comfort blanketed world.

Of course he's annoying and doesn't know when to stop; but that's part of his loving, wounded nature.

And I'm very sad he had to see him go but happy he found his true home.
Jo Jo Meastro
Sun, Oct 20, 2013, 10:10am (UTC -5)
Easily 4 stars. It was the perfect celebration and magnificent swan song for Neelix. The farewell scene was so moving and you could tell everyone was just trying to enjoy this finale moment of togetherness, even while their hearts were mourning. This to me was a special and beautiful moment in Voyagers' legacy.
Tricia
Mon, Jan 27, 2014, 8:26am (UTC -5)
I agree with almost everything Leah said. (Except the part about loving Kes - I really didn't care for her). I've always liked Neelix, although he was a bit annoying during his 'jealousy' years - but it was a relief when he got over that. And I thought he became a valuable and beloved member of the crew. I was sad to see him go, although I always thought it would be a bit weird for him to be the only Talaxian on Earth. I never really understood why he would want to go, except that his shame (regarding his actions during the war) propelled him to get as far away from Talax as possible. The one thing I really disliked was that he found his home in the dark, gloomy interior of an asteroid. He mentioned in several episodes how much he enjoyed the outdoors and fresh air - the asteroid was very depressing! I was happy that he found a new 'family' though.

Of course there were plot holes, which have already been mentioned (how did the Talaxians get so far from home? They never mention a wormhole, or anything of the sort), but I can forgive that. Typical Star Trek.
Nick
Thu, Feb 6, 2014, 3:56pm (UTC -5)
Neelix, no longer a simple cook or moral officer, but a leader of men! A builder of civilizations! Defender of the asteroid! The guy who gets the job done!

In my imagination, Neelix packed his cargo hull to the brim with replicators, raw materials, and instructions on how to construct holo emitters. That gloomy asteroid will get a hell of a re-fit. :)

4/5
DLPB
Mon, Feb 24, 2014, 11:33pm (UTC -5)
Wow... what lazy writing. Need an ending for a character light years away from home? No problem... just write in a planet with his race, 3 episodes from the end.
Amanda
Tue, Feb 25, 2014, 4:59pm (UTC -5)
Never did I see this coming where my eyes would hold back tears like Janeway did. Was his character development finally there or did I feel bad for the crew? Maybe it was my own selfish sorrow of feeling the inevitable conclusion to Voyager. Not sure yet. Time to watch the series start to finish again, I suppose.
Leo
Sat, Mar 1, 2014, 10:59pm (UTC -5)
I liked Neelix from the start, I've never understood why he's so hated! Most Trekkers seem too analytical and won't just let the characters emotions wash over them. He doesn't have to be edgy and contentious, he's just an honest and good willed person, let him be! The only times he p****d me off was when he was Mr Jealous Balls, but hey, no ones perfect! I shed a tear at the end of this one. Was so emotional when he finally earnt tuvoks respect! Just tuvok being civil showed how much he cared! I agree with Kate Mulgrew, the element that makes this show is the relationships. It's why I watched all 7 seasons, not always for the storylines but because I loved every character. That doesn't make me a bleeding heart! I'm quite happy that the stories serve the characters and don't have to be based so tediously on logic, some of youz lot need to open up your soul...your arsoul
Amanda
Mon, Mar 3, 2014, 9:50pm (UTC -5)
I like neelix, but I don't love neelix. I couldn't ignore the jealousy scenes, they bothered me. one of my favorite scenes was actually when he mocked Janeway in episode "The Cloud". "Let's see if we can find some space anomaly today that might rip it apart!" The mirror of the fans frustration on air. looove.
Steinway
Fri, Apr 4, 2014, 8:25pm (UTC -5)
Hmm...I must ask, again, my opening question from my comment two episodes ago: WHERE are they getting their food? They are on a bald asteroid! Are they somehow sucking up and metabolizing that gaseous stuff that was coming out of the pipes? Ah well.

I would have been more excited and gung-ho about Neelix staying with those people (and fighting with them for their home) if the asteroid hadn't been such a depressing place to live. It's a rock, people :(

But anyway, I did like the episode very much overall—a "Neelix farewell" episode just sounds like a bad idea, but it came off well. I especially liked the Tuvok/Neelix scenes and how Neelix genuinely felt useful through their conversations, something his character had struggled with pretty much the whole series; and the way that Tuvok empowered Neelix to be more than he was. Although, I found the Tuvok-dance moment at the end rather cheesy, it was a nice touch and a great sendoff for a character.

Wasn't it odd though when they (Neelix and the other two Talaxians) were looking at the picture of Talax in astrometrics and no one mentioned that it had been destroyed?? (Hadn't it?!) That was awkward and a pretty glaring continuity issue since that was one of the only aspects of Neelix's character that wasn't happy-smiley—he had that awful part of his past, that came up many times throughout the series.

I also really liked Janeway's scene with Neelix, when she appealed to his sense of duty—presenting the idea of ambassador in the Delta quadrant to him. It gave him a pass to leave while still honoring his sense of pride.

I would definitely say, the best Neelix episode of the series!
Elliott
Fri, Apr 4, 2014, 9:08pm (UTC -5)
@Steinway: a moon of Talax, Rinax, where Neelix lived was poisoned, but nothing was destroyed.
Steinway
Fri, Apr 11, 2014, 9:10pm (UTC -5)
@Elliott: Thanks, I'm glad I was wrong on one continuity issue :) It's been years since I saw Seasons 1/2 where they talked about that...
Sean
Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
Oh dear. Neelix has always been a mess of a character that invoked more rage at how utterly annoying he was then anything else. But that's not what really annoyed me here. Surprisingly Neelix was handled with far more dignity then he normally would be.

No, what got me here was the miners. I know the "hard headed, illogical, stubborn, xenophobic, uncooperative aliens of the week" plot device was by now a Voyager cliche, but this is supposed to be a send off for one of your main characters. Not a routine action plot. I don't buy for a second that miners would be as unreasonable as to destroy 500 people and their home. What kind of state do they live in? Fascist? Well we kill hundreds of people but at least the trains run ono time.
Eli
Sun, Aug 24, 2014, 6:04pm (UTC -5)
Very good episode in that it brought out the best in Neelix, and demonstrated the depth of the crew. While, Neelix is not universally admired, his character or another like it was necessary as a counterbalance for the show. His cultural differences with the crew, and his humor were essential contrasts. The actor (Ethan Phillips) also did a perfectly fine job given what was asked of him.

However, it is (as others pointed out) extremely odd that Talaxians (a group that was not as advanced as others) were found so far from where Neelix originally was. This is a great plot hole.

Overall solid episode.
Capitalist
Sun, Nov 23, 2014, 1:19pm (UTC -5)
I've never been a Neelix hater, and always considered him an upright scrappy fellow, regardless of his occasional annoyances. His early jealousy thing was quite offputting, but the episode where he fights Seska's buddy and ends up killing him and saving the ship was probably when I started to give him more respect.

Anyway, no one has mentioned a brief moment in this episode that really seemed like a subtle nod to his bravery and loyalty. When the miners were dropping charges on the asteroid, and Neelix was chasing them and detonating the charges with his ship's weapons, something or other knocks out his weapons. There's another charge heading for the surface, and he turns his ship toward it. Dexa freaks out and asks what he's doing, but at that moment, Voyager shows up to blast the charge and save the day.

What he was doing was aiming his ship on a suicide collision course to detonate the charge before it hit the surface. The scene goes pretty fast, so I wonder how many people caught the intensity of that moment, and understood the decision he had made.
Susanna Chisholm
Thu, Jun 4, 2015, 7:17pm (UTC -5)
I am a STV fan and Homestead happens to be one of my favorite episode. I had no idea there were this many people who like this episode.

TRIP
Mon, Mar 21, 2016, 9:01am (UTC -5)
Well done - 3.5 stars.

If someone bet me that Tuvok moving his foot would make me choke up, I would have lost the bet. I gave this episode an extra half star just for that scene. Best Farewell Ever.

As stated by others above, it is very unplausable that they would have encountered Talaxians this far out. It wasn't even a rogue group that decided to explore the galaxy and new civilizations. Nope, just a small group on an asteroid that they call home. After travelling over 40,000 light years, I'd think they would have settled on a nice class M world. Instead, we are to believe after 40,000 years, the captain said - "Hey, this rock is perfect, exactly what we've been searching for our whole lives." Derp.
Diamond Dave
Fri, Mar 25, 2016, 9:11am (UTC -5)
OK, so it's a giant contrivance to have a group of Talaxians out there, and the bulk of this episode is fairly standard, derivative fare.

But that conclusion is just beautifully played from the scene with Naomi Wildman onwards. It gives Neelix a fitting end to his story, and for him to find a ready made family seems a fairly organic wrap up and certainly more sensible that him being the only Talaxian on Earth. It's been noticeable over the latter series how much Neelix got toned down and tuned out from the early years, to the point where I was finding more in the character than the merely tolerable.

3 stars, and pretty much just the ending rather than anything else.
dipads
Sat, May 14, 2016, 5:16pm (UTC -5)
Lets not forget to give a big applause to levar Burton of TNG who handled the departure scenes with class. ****stars kudo!
Dazzle
Sat, May 21, 2016, 2:55am (UTC -5)
Literally watched this ep again just before, and it still brought a tear to my eye. Beautiful send-off for a character who has all too often been easily dismissed as the comic relief.
Yanks
Thu, Jul 7, 2016, 11:37am (UTC -5)
I just love this episode but I can't give it 4 stars because just how the hell did the Talaxians get this far from home? I mean give us one sentence or something... a bone?

I'll tell you what, Lavar can sure as hell direct himself some trek. I don't EVER think I've been disappointed with his work, even when the script was crap.

Yanks going soft here.... :-)

2 times I lose it.

Janeway is so damn good here... I'm surprised that others didn't take notice. How she gives Neelix exactly what he wants without making him chose against his Voyager family and duties is PERFECT:

"NEELIX: I've been thinking about something. It's a little hard to put into words, and I haven't really made a decision yet. And of course I would never ignore my responsibilities on Voyager.
JANEWAY: Of course not.
NEELIX: I take them very seriously.
JANEWAY: I know you do. I've been thinking about something, too. Maybe you could help me.
NEELIX: I'd be happy to.
JANEWAY: It's an idea I'd need to talk to Starfleet Command about.
NEELIX: It must be important.
JANEWAY: It is. Now that we've established two way communication with Earth, it seems to me Starfleet could use a permanent ambassador in the Delta Quadrant. This ambassador would have to stay in frequent contact with Voyager.
NEELIX: Certainly.
JANEWAY: It would be difficult for me to run this ship without you, Neelix. But that might be a sacrifice I'd be willing to make for the greater good of Starfleet. Of course, the assignment would be entirely voluntary. You wouldn't be interested, would you? "

The way Janeway delivers this is epic. Well done writers and Kate!!

Also, of course, the memorable march through the crew. The lack of any conversation was perfect. This was very much a send-off for Ethan as well. He was as beloved on the set as he was by the crew on Voyager. Again, perfectly executed.

3.5 stars from me.
AA
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 6:48pm (UTC -5)
Where's Samantha Wildman? Did they murder her and stuff her body somewhere? Was Naomi told she was killed on an away mission? It's like this huge conspiracy. "We don't mention Samantha." LOL
Ivanov
Thu, Aug 25, 2016, 11:58pm (UTC -5)
@AA I actually read somewhere that the writers thought they had killed her off in one episode and forgot about her that's why she only appeared in time travel episodes towards the end of the show.

They did the same thing with Lt carey they thought they killed him in season 1 and when they learned there mistake they brought him back in friendship one.
mephyve
Mon, Sep 26, 2016, 5:26am (UTC -5)
(****)
Mikey
Tue, Nov 22, 2016, 6:43am (UTC -5)
Not much to add. Just a nice, heartfelt goodbye to Neelix.

3.5 stars
Dave
Thu, Jan 19, 2017, 5:42pm (UTC -5)
Neelix's "if they aren't welcome, then I'm not staying either" threat was extremely weak, since Neelix staying a while was wholly Neelix's idea, not theirs. They were already pretty much handing him his hat.
Yanks
Fri, Jan 20, 2017, 5:33pm (UTC -5)
Don't agree. Oxilon had offered to let Neelix stay and "talk". Neelix was just standing ture with his shipmates.
mick
Sun, Feb 5, 2017, 4:10am (UTC -5)
Explaining why there were a group of Talaxians 40,000 years from their homeworld would have been as simple as having Dexa or another character say that they used the vaadwaur subspace corridors. It was established in dragon's teeth that they went all the way to talax. I don't get why the writers didn't do that.
Del_Duio
Mon, Feb 6, 2017, 7:39am (UTC -5)
A surprisingly good episode, even if you could see the ending coming a mile away.
Quincy
Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 10:34am (UTC -5)
Wow. I NEVER liked Neelix. I often wished he'd meet his end in a shuttle crash or with severe phaser burns or perhaps somebody would space him into a Tyken's Rift or something.

However, even I felt the emotional power at the end of this episode. Tuvok specifically elevated this send off to 3 star level for me. I love when a person can say volumes without speaking a word. Tuvok 1st gave Neelix incredible words of encouragement and then in the final farewell says everything that needed to be said with that wag of his foot and the standard Vulcan homage.

It reminds me of a time when I was visiting a friend and an ice cream truck came down his street. I was long passed my ice cream craze days, but I smiled as I saw the kids congregating on the curb, absolutely losing their minds with anticipation. There were like 15 kids of various ages screaming at the truck to stop, as if the driver had planned to keep going. Not a chance. He was already slowing down.

But there was this one kid who hadn't said a word. Couldn't have been more than 5 years old. At the front of the pack, he just bent down and slowly patted the ground at his feet with one hand, smiling a devilish smile. I laughed out loud. Without even a word he'd said all that needed to be said.
dave johnson
Sun, Mar 19, 2017, 11:57pm (UTC -5)
Haven't we all given up on worry about Voyager and distance traveled by people they met in the past, who just happen to show up within their range again? It happened so much it is comical.

A Talaxian colony that far away is plausible if they only added a couple of lines about it being generational and 40 years with a couple of failed planetary settlements in between. Neelix's love interest could have just said she was born during the journey and only saw Talax from the database.

Average episode... however, Neelix's sendoff was well done.. very well done.. Tuvok's foot dance was very cool in light of their 7 year history antagonizing one another and Neelix always trying to convince Tuvok to lighten up.
Stephen
Sun, May 21, 2017, 6:56am (UTC -5)
"though I think the way the episode invokes the Prime Directive is erroneous: If a warp-capable group of people asks for help in defending themselves, I don't see how that's a Prime Directive issue saying Janeway can't be involved."

This is not the only time this happens in the show. Basically every time the writers want an excuse for Janeway to want to stay uninvolved, they trot out the Prime Directive, and everyone nods their head, even though a significant majority of the species they encounter are warp capable. What's worse, there's an episode where they were discussing this and Tuvok makes the point about the Directive not applying because the aliens of the week... are warp capable. It's just another example of sloppy storytelling that persistently made this show infuriating to watch.
Skinto
Fri, Aug 25, 2017, 1:13am (UTC -5)
I sort of liked Neelix when Kes was around. At least he had some actual personality instead of just the, I'm supposed to be so adorable, and nice, and funny, caricature he bacame afterwards.

I never had one ounce of feeling for him after that, and not much before, so his leaving, for me, means absolutely nothing.

The totally contrived reason didn't help. Talaxians that should never have been there in the first place.

And as someone mentioned earlier, and the only person to even notice it it seems, besides me, is why in the hell would they fight to live on an asteroid? They will all be dead as soon as their supplies run out. There isn't any food or water on an asteroid.

Voyager basically gave all of the Talaxians, including Neelix, a death sentence. Nice.

Goodbye Neelix, our shipmate for 7 years. Have a fun time starving to death.

The ending wasn't bad, but sort of generic.

1 star. Mostly for the ending.
Lisa
Mon, Aug 28, 2017, 10:29pm (UTC -5)
I will never understand all the Neelix hate. I always liked the character. I liked his relationship w/Kes, and I liked him when in the later seasons. He was a good character IMO. I enjoyed his send off. It was sweet though we could have gotten another scene w/him and Naomi.
Ben Sisko
Sat, Sep 9, 2017, 1:30pm (UTC -5)
I'm glad some people recognized how great the scene was with Janeway and Neelix near the end. She didn't want to see him go but she caught on very quickly where the conversation was going and you can see it in her eyes and in her facial expression right before and during the dialogue where she devises that Delta Quadrant ambassador role. Well written too and well acted too by both Mulgrew and Phillips. Voyager was a very special show and gets overlooked becaue of TNG and DS9.
Dave
Fri, Sep 29, 2017, 5:37pm (UTC -5)
Talaxians this far away from Talax could have maybe forgiven if it had been some kind of generational thing, but then we learn that Dexa has actually been on Talax within her lifetime, before they "left".
JanewayKILLEDTuvix
Mon, Oct 16, 2017, 6:29pm (UTC -5)
Episode would have been better if Naomi Wildman finished her Tuvix story in the mess hall with....


Naomi Wildman-"and once there was a transporter accident. Neelix and Commander Tuvok got combined to make a completely different person...and then Captain Janeway killed him."

Brax-"...REALLY?"

Naomi Wildman-"You don't think I could make up a story like that do ya?" *smirk


Rahul
Wed, Jan 10, 2018, 3:27pm (UTC -5)
The Neelix farewell episode has some touching moments but overall it's a bland episode with a story that's been told a million times on Trek (seemingly). Nothing to get excited about but one has to feel something at the end for Neelix's farewell -- after all he's been in the background for 7 seasons.

The plot is pretty much boilerplate (stock villains, relocating a colony...) and so too is the farewell part but since those happen so rarely, it was one of the more watchable parts of the episode. I found it a major stretch that Talaxians could have made it out this far from where Voyager first found Neelix. So they are warp capable and I don't see a PD issue here. It's like the writers were contriving a suitable departure episode for Neelix where he would not need to go to Earth so they came up with this scenario.

Also good to see the crew sticking up for Neelix -- especially Tuvok who had some good advice after 7 years of being standoffish. Neelix is a good character - sympathetic, caring etc. I liked the episode "Mortal Coil" but otherwise, he's mostly been a cheerleader. Naomi Wildman no longer needing him was also well written / acted as was Neelix sort of resisting getting intimate with the Talaxian widow on Voyager.

He meets Janeway late at night for coffee -- wonder what he was going to ask Janeway before the captain proposes he stay behind as an ambassador?

Barely 2.5 stars for "Homestead" -- the end is near for Voyager so this episode works in the grand scheme of things although it was nothing new and somewhat predictable. Not a bad hour of Trek, but once through it is definitely enough.
Peter G.
Wed, Jan 10, 2018, 3:32pm (UTC -5)
Rahul, you doing the sandwich method? Starting at seasons 1 and 7 and going to work your way to the middle? :)
Rahul
Wed, Jan 10, 2018, 8:59pm (UTC -5)
Hi Peter G. -

I guess I have been posting a lot on VOY the past couple of days -- must look weird the order that I'm reviewing the series -- it all depends on what order the Space Channel shows them!

The Dreamer
Sun, Jan 28, 2018, 10:21pm (UTC -5)
Touching episode
Correct a throwaway line about a wormhole or a sub space corridor would have been nice but alas . . .perhaps it was left on the cutting room floor.

Given what I know now about the behind the scenes challenges and ALL that executive meddling, it’s amazing that the show maintained any continuity at all.

The modern advent of streaming which has enabled binge watching has allowed for catching the subtleties often missed on a single viewing. I have a greater appreciation for the series. And I already like all the trek series’ any how. But even 17 years after the final episode, I still find scenes that I have missed or forgotten and e be certain episodes.

Nuff said
Bill Bunkum
Fri, Feb 23, 2018, 1:24pm (UTC -5)
I really enjoyed this episode. As 'boiler-plate' as it may have been, I agree with most that it's heartfelt - that's pretty good storytelling, if you ask me, to affect the viewer.

I'm glad Neelix gets a dignified send off. He's so often the goof or the comic relief, a sort of static character, I sometimes wondered how he survived on his own. This episode (and, others of course) show him as having unequivocally grown, as dynamic, at the end of a long journey and as fully realized that he must move forward with his life.

His time on Voyager has run its course, and yet, he will be sorely missed during the rest of their journey. Whatever this episode does, it resonates with me and I find myself melancholy afterward. Pretty awesome.
Prince of Space
Wed, Feb 28, 2018, 3:00am (UTC -5)
Well said, Mr. Bunkum!

It was kind of touching watching Neelix leave, and it gave me a melancholic vibe as well.

All these chowderheads blathering on and on about “Neelix was annoying, or Neelix was jealous, or Neelix wasn’t on par with the great literary characters of fiction” have a point.

But they’re still chowderheads because they go ON AND ON ABOUT IT, even at his touching and well-done departure episode. I mean seriously, we get it... would someone please give them a tasty Hot Pocket with a $10 gift card for Candy Crush Saga already to shut them up?!?

And for all the “Why are there Talaxians way out here” crowd... give me a break!!! Every time Voyager turns, they show it leaning over to do so (Watch the opening credits). That’s an aerodynamic maneuver for a craft with wings, certainly not useful in space where there’s no air! Seriously, this show could be ripped apart by a 5 year old if they wanted to.

Fortunately, they don’t want to. They want to be entertained. You could learn a lot from a 5 year old. haha

SouthofNorth
Tue, Apr 3, 2018, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
Neelix is gone? Four star episode!
What? He didn't die in a pool of his own vomit and blood?
Subtract 2 stars ...
William B
Wed, Apr 18, 2018, 2:54pm (UTC -5)
This episode gives Neelix a decent send-off and the scenes between him and Janeway, Tuvok, and Naomi pack a decent punch. I would have preferred for him and Naomi to get a real goodbye -- will Naomi spend the rest of her days wondering if she should have paid more attention to Neelix that one time he asked to read her a story, or does she really think that she doesn't need him enough to detain him on Voyager? -- but basically these three relationships were given a weight that was pretty earned, and the send-off from the whole crew, while already used in Redemption for Worf, is ultimately pretty affecting. The show doesn't go all out into three-hankie territory but Tuvok's kind words to Neelix in astrometrics (along with his mentioning Neelix's annoying qualities) and his little dance acknowledge their complicated relationship and the way in which Neelix has earned, after seven years, Tuvok's respect.

ENDGAME SPOILERS: Dropping Neelix off also avoids having to deal with the obvious questions of what kind of life he would make for himself in the Alpha Quadrant. We already know that Icheb wants to go to the Academy, so his story is more or less sorted, but for Neelix we know what his life is like *on Voyager* but not what would really happen to him when he got back to Earth. If Voyager spent another thirty years travelling, it might not be so important, but we know with the benefit of hindsight (and could maybe figure out) that Voyager is about to get home, so....

And I do think that having Neelix join other Talaxians attempting to make a life for themselves makes some sense; these are other people who were hurt by the Haakonians (sp? -- can't be bothered to look it up), and while other people on Voyager have suffered a great deal of loss, I think that he can relate to the other Talaxians on this level better than to the Voyager crew. In retrospect the lost opportunities are clear -- imagine Neelix talking with Chakotay and B'Elanna about the death of the Maquis, for example! -- but still, it makes some general sense. The species-essentialist view that he should be with His Own People goes a little under-commented on, but I think the basic idea that they are people who have more need of him and that's where he goes, as well as being able to relate to them because of shared history and genetics, makes this a relatively fine place for the character to end up. We get a reminder of both his feelings of usefulness and his jack-of-all-trades resourcefulness, as well as his longing for culture -- his throwing himself into his adoptive culture with First Contact Day celebrations is taken, to some degree, as someone who really longs to return a shared culture he recognizes as truly his own, rather than a benevolent adopted one.

(What isn't stated, but I think is also a factor, is that in addition to Naomi growing up -- though for heaven's sake, she's *five*, no matter how fast half-Katarians apparently age, and her mother is still apparently nowhere to be found -- and Kes being gone, Neelix's self-appointed role as morale officer is less important now that the crew has permanent contact with Earth, and so the crew is less alone and in better spirits generally.)

Where the episode fails is in the actual details of the Talaxian colony and whatnot -- it's not just that it's very generic goodies vs. baddies stuff, but also that the ending, as some have pointed out, seems really unbelievable. So, uh, this one asteroid has a shield around it, so now the people who were willing to beat up children and shoot them all are going to leave them alone? What happens when they run out of food? What happens if the baddies just come back with bigger weapons? It's not that these things all have to be resolved, but that they aren't even mentioned is strange and off-putting. Here I just have to look past what the episode actually presents to the idea behind it, which is all right.

I'll say 2.5 stars, overall.
William B
Thu, Apr 19, 2018, 5:57pm (UTC -5)
Neelix eps (or Neelix-related eps) ranked (IMO):

Mortal Coil
Tuvix ("related")
Fair Trade
Jetrel
Repentance subplot
Phage
Homestead
Once Upon a Time
Riddles
The Haunting of Deck Twelve
Live Fast and Prosper
Rise
False Profits
Parturition
Elogium
Investigations

IMO, part of the reason Neelix's reputation is so bad is that the worst Neelix eps were so early in the series -- season two and three -- and by that point it was hard for the writers to fully rehabilitate the character. That said, they managed to tone him down and give him a few decent stories. I actually like Neelix, honestly, outside season two, though I'd say his potential was generally somewhat squandered.
Maq
Wed, Apr 25, 2018, 1:35pm (UTC -5)
Fully agree with the positive comments. Neelix was annoying, irl some peopels are. Perhaps not in so distinct in TOS but in the other series it is shown that it is the diversity that matters. Tuvok might be the most boring Vulcan ever but definitely someone that you would like to have next to you in a very trick situation. You need top steal a horse, just ask Tom. Seven is similar to Tuvoc but shes has much more sens of try humour ... among others. Harry, take a good hiking tour. Belana much hands on but also a rich soul. Don't marry her. Chakoaty, definitely philosophy and a buddy to talk with about men's matters . Janeway, even though I do not always like here. A fair manager. The doctor, honestly , I would only go to him with for a consultancy regarding an obscure illness or serious accident.

As a team they do good. Chatting with Neelix when you do not find anyone else, getting some interesting to eat. He would never be y close friend but a respectable friend.

Quark in DS9n was annoying to 80 - 90 %. Neelix only disturbing to 70 %.
teokk
Wed, May 9, 2018, 5:05am (UTC -5)
Quite liked the episode and was actually getting teary eyed at the end. I was always ambivalent toward Neelix, but this made me realize he's more good than bad.

My biggest complaint is the crappy asteroid they chose to settle on. Surely a better plan everyone would've preferred would be to take them to an M class planet and establish their defenses there. It annoyed me how obstinate they were about staying on a piece of rock when it wasn't their original home (or even their second one) and when it differed so dramatically from their homeworld. Seems like way too drab and depressing a place for the colorful Talaxians and, honestly, I'm sad Neelix ended up living in such a place for good.

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