Saturday, October 19, 2013

Voyager: Season Four Essentials

I've made a big deal lately about how I'm moving (again) and don't have as much time to write so you're probably already sick of that shtick. Of course, that doesn't make the statement less true. Our move takes place tomorrow but I didn't want to leave you without the Season Four Essentials:

1- Year of Hell Parts 1 & 2:
One of the most solid, engaging episodes of Voyager (and any Trek) shows Janeway and the crew at their most desperate. I always think about Voyager as being a show about family as much as anything else and this episode really brings that theme home.

2- Message In A Bottle:
You can't miss Voyager's first contact with the Alpha Quadrant in four years OR The Doctor's exploits (with Andy Dick) on a Romulan-infested experimental ship.

3- The Killing Game Parts 1 &2:
Klingons Vs. Nazis. 'Nuff said.

4- Living Witness:
This is basically Voyager doing a mirror episode without doing a mirror episode. I love this one for the way it showcases the moral ambiguity, misplaced blame, and subjective history that comes out of bitter war. There are no easy answers, white hats or black hats, no Good Guy Picard following the Prime Directive in this one. It's a tangled mess of history, hate and (on The Doctor's part) homesickness.

5- Hope and Fear:
Here's the (pretty low key) Season 4 Finale. A totally cool looking dude in a nifty pantsuit shows up and offers to decrypt a degraded message from Starfleet. The message leads them to a balls-out amazing, experimental ship from Starfleet, which could get them home lickety-split. What unfolds (especially between Arturis, Janeway, and Seven) is intriguing.

Runners Up:

Day Of Honor:
B'Elanna's having a crappy day and Tom's relentlessly trying to help her celebrate Klingon Christmas or whatever. She, of course, isn't into this thing as she's not feeling super honorable or reflective and would rather be cranky and yell at people. Watch this one to see the Tom/B'Elanna (B'om? T'Elanna?) relationship develop into something deeper than "we almost did it during Pon Farr."

Tom and B'Elanna free floating in space before it was cool. 

Seven and The Doctor are stuck driving Voyager while the rest of the crew take a month-long nap. Her adventure into her isolation-induced paranoia and psychosis is interesting and surprising.
Is this a dream or the weirdo ski vacation holo-program Tom keeps taking.
You may notice that I didn't include "The Gift" and I have to say that I did think about it. In the end though, The Gift is about saying goodbye to Kes and I don't think it's necessary for the rest of this series to see that episode. Also, I have a tendency to include what I think are the episodes that most effectively convey the spirit of the series/season. As much as I loved Kes and as much as I think the scene between her and Janeway is beautiful and heartbreaking, The Gift always leaves me a little bitter. So, I left it off.

Ok, I'm off to finish packing! Wish me luck! See you on the other side!


  1. "See you on the other side!" Sounds like you're talking about "One."

    I forgot "The Killing Game" came this early. I remember when that was first broadcast UPN ran both hours together, like a 2 hr movie. It was the first time they did that, but wouldn't be their last. The DVDs have it as "Killing Game-Part 1" and "Killing Game-Part 2," complete with credits and a recap at the beginning of Part 2. When these were originally airing I was taping them on VHS. I've always preferred that cut better than the one on the DVDs. Alas, I don't have my VHS of it anymore. Not likely I would watch it now anyway...

    One other thing I just noticed about the DVDs (it's been years since I last pulled the VOYAGER ones out). The titles are in a spiral around the little hole in the middle. They are VERY difficult to read. Super annoying!!

  2. Re-visiting “Message in a Bottle” really put a smile on my face. “Hope and Fear” was a gripping story, brought out all the family-feeling of the crew, and the complex relationship of Janeway and Seven. Loved how their holodeck game of Velocity framed the episode.


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