It all starts when they come upon a 1930s truck spewing rust into space and then follow an SOS signal to a planet where a bunch of people have been stored on ice for the last couple hundred years. (One of them happens to be Amelia Earhart.) Soon, some other humans show up and spill the beans about how, back in the 30s, a ton of people were abducted from earth and brought to the Delta Quadrant as slaves but they revolted and took the planet for themselves and now they have a great (apparently--we never see it) society that's a lot like Earth. They offer the 37s (the humans who've been in cold storage this whole time) and the Voyager crew the option of staying and making a home there.
Alright, in spite of this episode's slight unevenness, I always find it really endearing. It's the Season 2 opener but it feels a lot more like the Season 1 finale--probably because it was actually written to be so. There's not a lot of danger here. There's not any alien race bearing down on them. There's no phaser fight or dangerous space sickness or imminent need for fuel or any of the stuff the Voyager crew often face. Yet, this is a uniquely Voyager episode. No other Trek crew would've needed to even consider an offer to stay on an alien planet. Only the Voyager crew, so far away from home, might be tempted by an earth-like society populated by real, actual humans (and not just folks who look like humans but have some variation of a turtlehead or points on their ears) and that's what ultimately makes this episode special.
The last two acts of this one are spent with characters discussing who might stay behind. B'Elanna and Harry consider their options. "Do you really want to be trapped on a ship forever? Don't you want to feel the breeze?" (or something like that) And, when Neelix is questioned by the 37s about whether crew members will elect to stay on Voyager, he becomes more and more unsure as the conversation goes on.
In the end, Janeway has a heart-to-heart with Amelia about the whole issue. She says the crew members who've decided to leave will be in the cargo bay and she's headed there now.
And here's the moment that so endears not only this episode to me but Janeway and, beyond that, Kate Mulgrew. Her performance, as she enters the cargo bay and realizes that no one has decided to leave--that each and every one of her crewmen will stay on Voyager--is beautiful and true. Janeway's glad they're all staying because it shows loyalty and a commitment to their mission and a commitment to her but, more than that, it must be a relief for this character. After all, it was the choice she made that stranded them all in the Delta Quadrant. She must have felt some level of guilt about this over the last six months and now, when her entire crew makes the choice to stay with Voyager--to stay with her--it must be a powerful comfort. They're in this together and, for the first time, this crew really feels like a family.
-Holy crap, they land the freaking ship. Seriously. They land Voyager. What more do you need?