Monday, 7 March 2016

Star Trek #13

Voyager Favourite Episodes - Season Six

As I mentioned in the last Voyager-related post, the fifth season was definitely the best so far. Having now gone through the sixth season as well, I'd say my previous assessment remains true. That isn't to say this season is bereft of greatness though, for there are lots of great moments and more than just five good episodes too.

Other episodes included as varied stories as usual: some of the other drones from Seven's unimatrix turn up seeking the same independence she now enjoys, B'Elanna dies and goes to Klingon hell (temporarily of course), Tom becomes obsessed with an alien shuttle he buys to fix up, Tuvok becomes friends with Neelix after suffering brain damage, the Delta Flyer gets stuck inside a weird orange 'graviton ellipse' thing which previously swallowed a 21st century NASA command module, Seven goes crazy and turns into a conspiracy theorist, the crew bumble around in their stupid Irish holodeck town, the Doctor becomes a revered opera singer, and in one interesting episode, Chakotay, Tom, Harry, and Neelix all begin suffering from horrifying flashbacks of being engaged in a bloody battle when they return from an away mission, and before long, everyone else starts having flashbacks too!

After that came the highest rated episode of the season (mainly because The Rock is guest star, I imagine) but one that earned much scorn from fans, which involves Seven getting kidnapped and forced to fight in a violent UFC-style tournament. Other events include some crew getting kidnapped by partially-matured Borg drones, a slightly-superior-but-still-stupid 'Fair Haven' holodeck episode, Icheb is returned to his parents who have sinister plans for him, Janeway takes three under-performing crew members under her wing, and a pair of con-artists impersonating Janeway and Tuvok rip off half the Delta Quadrant who want revenge... on the real Voyager!

Rounding out the season we had a stranded B'Elanna helping a frantic alien playwright tell the story of Voyager to his enthralled audience, an angry (and old) Kes returns to smash crap up, the Doctor is sent to Jupiter station in another superb one to try and save his dying creator (also guest-starring Reg Barclay and Counsellor Troi), a spooky entity inhabits Voyager and messes with all the systems, and the season ends with the first part of another Borg two-parter - this time Seven and her Voyager friends are trying to establish a safe haven for drones to explore their independence. One other episode that nearly made the selection below is Ashes to Ashes which sees a dead crew member return to Voyager having been 'reanimated' by an alien species who turned her into one of their own.

Her struggles as she attempts to regain her humanity and fit in again makes for a very interesting one. Overall the season has been pretty good. I've probably had an easier time making my selections this time which, unusually, are all from the first half of the season, but it's still been mighty enjoyable. Here are my five favourites:

Equinox Part 2 (Episode 1)

As is often the case, the first pick here is the second part of a two-parter, specifically one involving Captain Ransom and his ship, The USS Equinox. After Janeway found out that he and his crew had been capturing and killing weird floaty nucleogenic lifeforms to fuel their ship, he does a runner with Seven in tow, leaving Voyager crippled and under attack by the lifeforms itself after the Equinox's 'evil' EMH was switched with Voyager's own doctor. Janeway has never been one to take things lying down though, and soon sets off in pursuit, risking all to bring the treacherous Ransom to justice. I always found it a bit implausible that his ship was even in the Delta Quadrant to begin with though. Surely word would've reached Voyager of their exploits by now, or at least rumours? Apparently their presence is a complete surprise though, and not a good one as it would turn out, despite being initially ecstatic at finding each other, and it ends up making an interesting battle of wits. I don't think you need me to tell you who emerges victorious but it's a very enjoyable episode. Ransom and his key crew members are good characters too, it's just a shame we never see any of them again (that I recall).

Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy (Episode 4)

Voyager has its fair share of funny moments but few episodes are as humorous as this one which sees the Doctor experimenting with a 'daydreaming subroutine' he has added to his program. Naturally it goes wrong and he finds himself daydreaming even when he doesn't want to. Observing the ship from the safety of a nebula are a race called the Hierarchy. One of their crew thinks he has managed to tap into the Doctor and is seeing everything the Doc sees, but he's actually tapped into his daydreams which include parties at which he is the guest of honour, crew briefings in which all the females are fighting over him, Seven posing nude for his painting, and best of all, his promotion to Emergency Command Hologram where he single-handedly saves Voyager from the Borg using his special 'Photonic Cannon'. Soon the crew have to defend themselves from a real attack though, by the Hierarchy, with their only chance of survival coming from the Doctor, or rather, the ECH! It certainly looks like the cast - especially Picardo (Doctor) - had a lot of fun with this episode and it translates to the screen superbly. It's surely Voyager's funniest episodes and one of the most memorable of them all...

Dragon's Teeth (Episode 7)

This is the episode that was nearly dropped in favour of Ashes To Ashes, as mentioned earlier, but it won out in the end simply because it represents a pretty major fubar on the part of... actually not Captain Janeway really, but Seven! Indeed, upon the crew discovering the ruins of an ancient civilisation, our busty drone awakens one of the former inhabitants who was in stasis along with many of his compatriots, and his first thought is to wake the rest of his people, reactivate their fleet, and reclaim their rightful place in the galaxy! Oops, I guess that is yet another Prime Directive slip-up then! Despite Seven's error, however, the crew are intrigued by the story and plans of the Vaadwaur, a race whose territory once spanned a huge area thanks to some sub-space corridors they had discovered. Their interest soon turns to regret when the Vaadwaur announce their intentions to re-establish their territory via the same corridors, though, and even more so when it seems that Voyager may be their first target. It's not one that has any importance down the road (that we know of) but is still a great example of how one mistake born of simple curiosity can soon snowball out of control...

Pathfinder (Episode 10)

There are a few episodes I always look forward to and this is one. It's an unusual one too, in that we see very little of the regular Voyager characters. Instead, we kind of get a crossover episode featuring the awesome Reg Barclay, the stuttery engineer of TNG, and his friend and counsellor, Deanna Troi. Reg has become obsessed with Voyager, you see, and is spending much of his time in the holodeck with a recreation of the ship and her crew as he tries to devise a way of establishing a com-link with the real ship. Of course, his obsession soon earns the ire of his commanding officer... but he continues anyway! Inevitably he succeeds just in the nick of time, and in front of Admiral Paris no less (Tom's father), and it's a really nice moment - finally, live communication with Earth, even if for just a few seconds. It's also great to see Reg again (he must be one of Trek's best non-main characters), and of course Counsellor Troi is as delightful as always, but I think I also like this one so much as it marks one of the first major steps towards the show's overall goal - Voyager getting back home. Still a long way to go though...

Blink of an Eye (Episode 12)

When I haven't watched Voyager for a while and think about it, this episode is often one of the first to pop into my head. It sees Voyager encounter an alien world exhibiting some unique properties and soon the ship gets trapped in orbit by the weird planet's magnetic field. It is then discovered that time is passing many times faster on the surface and the initially-primitive culture we meet in our first glimpse of the planet are advancing by hundreds of years every time we see them subsequently until they're advanced enough to launch a rocket and explore what they have come to know as the 'Sky Ship', and soon they're even able to help Voyager escape. It's a fairly predictable outcome but the reason I like the episode so much is simply down to the fascinating concept. Imagine an entire culture evolving, the Sky Ship ever-present in the sky throughout recorded history and beyond; then finally getting to find out exactly what it is. Not only that, but given how fast time moves on the planet, imagine how ridiculously advanced they will be after even just one more hour of our time, never mind a few weeks! Soon they may have evolved into beings of pure energy. It's an episode that really fires the imagination, and that's exactly what the best science fiction should do, isn't it?

Look out for my Season Seven picks soon!
 

2 comments:

  1. Good reviews Simon! Voyager is my favourite of all Star Trek series other than the original.

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  2. Thanks Russ :) I think Voyager might well be my favourite too, and this season could be the best one. Thanks for dropping by!

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