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Star Trek Voyager Season 2

Star Trek: Voyager
Season Two (Fall 1995-1996):

26 episodes @ 43 minutes.
Get your copy of this 7-disc DVD set from the links below:
Region 1, NTSC, U.S.
Region 1, NTSC, Canada
Region 2, PAL, U.K. (Slimline Edition)
Region 2, PAL, U.K. (regular)

Non Sequitur

(Star Trek - Voyager episode production code 122)
written by Brannon Braga

There's something really nice about the premise of this story, with Harry Kim suddenly having to figure out how he could still be on Earth with his girlfriend instead of traveling on Voyager for the past 8 months. There's also a good deal of production value here, making good use of exterior locations, stock footage from films & previous shows, and the standing Marseilles bar set, helping to make 24th century Earth feel real. But sadly, it's a fairly poorly written script, chucked into the production schedule before having really found a gripping core for its drama.

What I found most disappointing was that Harry couldn't start explaining his troubles with the simple facts, namely that he remembers the past 8 months differently, and then remain open to what the various possible explanations might be. It looks like Sliding, with a Quantum-Leap-style execution. But instead, Harry assumes time travel has "changed things", and puts on a layer of judgment that this version is just wrong. And so, his conversations with anyone he attempts to confide in are icky, and I don't really want to invest in his plight.

The answers, as they come out, aren't particularly trustworthy either. I kept expecting these to turn out to be false leads and dead ends, and a more sensible truth to be dramatically revealed. Was Harry in a virtual reality, created by some aliens that had captured him, hoping to trick him into revealing the most modern form of Warp Propulsion that the Federation had come up with so far? Nope, we're just going through the motions of traveling down a familiar Trek rut. Did no one in the writers' room recognize that Braga pitches a lot of space cloud anomalies causing time travel? This time around, the science gets quite far-fetched and geographically/astronomically ridiculous and relies on a lot of accidental coincidence to make any sense. Ideally, time should be left completely out of today's premise, but with Harry spending several days in this adventure, and then coming out at a point just after he went in, we have to at least admit to a loop back of a few days. Unless it all happened in his head in a few milliseconds, à la "The Inner Light".

Saddest of all, we never really get to enjoy Harry's alternate life, as most of the relationships he has on Earth are simply not very interesting.

This episode is a bit of a mess in the end. Great idea, poorly written, relying on too much artificial guff and technobabble, becoming yet another time travel blotch on Star Trek's not-so-great record.


(Star Trek - Voyager episode production code 123)
written by Tom Szollosi

This is a fairly good one. Nicely, even when we get some technobabble, it is almost always in the service of creating a character moment, as well as advancing plot. And this episode has so many memorable character moments, often quite humorous and especially in the first half, that it undoubtedly rises to be one of the more interesting ones of the season.

I like how we get aliens in this episode that are something other than just humanoids in funny make-ups with no other thought being given to their life-cycles. The aliens here prove how different they are from us in many ways, and we get to see something a little unusual for television. Sure, we can all say that we know it was done with animatronics, but it's cool that they took the trouble to go for it, and that they got as many different emotions and actions from it as they did. Three cheers!

This episode does put a bit of focus on how the Voyager crew is feeding itself, what with replicator use being rationed, and you have to wonder to what degree Starfleet is interfering with the Delta Quadrant simply by feeding itself from local sources. Tom and Neelix go down to the planet to look for food.... and for all we know Neelix just might have decided that eggs would be on the menu this week. Considering what we learn later, that would probably have constituted quite the Prime Directive violation.

Add to that one of Spock's observations from the second season Original Series episode "Wolf in the Fold":

"In the strict scientific sense, Doctor, we all feed on death, even vegetarians."

And with that taken into account, is there any real way for Voyager to feed itself from local sources without violating the Prime Directive, unless it restricts itself to trade with civilizations that have discovered Warp Drive and are not engaged in any activity that would grate against Starfleet ideals? Even going the other route, gathering raw materials or direct energy to power their replicators, has the potential for problems. We saw in the first season episode "The Cloud" that such attempts harmed one such nebula-sized organism. If everything in the universe is alive in some manner of speaking, as suggested by both New Age philosophy and the number of times the "It's alive!" cliché is revealed to us on this show, the limits on how they can feed themselves without violating the Prime Directive become quite constraining indeed. Food for thought....


(Star Trek - Voyager episode production code 129)
written by Nicholas Corea
directed by Jonathan Frakes

This story feels more like traditional literary science fiction than Star Trek, partly because of Trek's insistences on aliens that emote through actors' eyes, and its avoidance of androids and robots. In those senses, "Prototype" feels like a bit of fresh air. But it also feels a bit clumsy going into this new area. The opening of the show is a nice echo of a pivotal sequence in "Robocop", but in this case had to have a special warning from UPN to its affiliate broadcasters letting them know that the poor picture quality of the first 2 minutes was an intentional special effect and not a problem with the signal. And once beyond that sequence, the realization of the "automated unit" is a bit pedestrian. Watching Doctor Who's "Robots of Death" or "Voyage of the Damned" reveals a very similar style pulled off with much greater finesse. Thankfully, the version here on Voyager can make up for this somewhat with spacecraft and other optical shots.

The story quite rightly brings up Prime Directive concerns as it should, and then proceeds to reveal a situation that proves perfectly why the course of action dictated by the Prime Directive would turn out to be the best. While this is fine, perhaps it would have been more interesting if there had remained some shades of grey as to the merits or detractions of involvement.

In the end, the story succeeds best as it bows out with the revelation of the backstory leaving a horrific impression for the viewer to think about afterwards. This is probably one of the better season two Voyager stories, but doesn't quite rank among its best.

Death Wish

(Star Trek - Voyager episode production code 130)
story by Shawn Piller (related to...?)
teleplay by Michael Piller
directed by James L. Conway

Despite a few goofy moments that deserved to be either excised or reworked, this story was generally an intriguing one, full of worthy discussion over an issue, and one that explored a lot of sci-fi ideas. The imagery of the Q-continuum in particular became burned into my brain after seeing this, and it usually recurs in my thoughts whenever the continuum is discussed in any other episode of Trek.

Additionally, Jonathan Frakes goes from directing the previous episode to making an appearance in this one as Commander William Riker. John de Lancie is also brought in for a pivotal role, and as a fan of TNG in particular, this episode feels a bit like an encore helping. Excellent.

Technically, this could officially fall into the category of a time travel episode for the Voyager crew, even though it's only a short, uneventful, and uninteresting throw-away idea in the piece. What is more interesting is the way the concept of interference and involvement permeates all the various arguments of the story, some of which the story comments on, others of which seem to slip by unnoticed.

The first bit I want to bring up is the assertion that the rebellious, philosophical Q asking for asylum is said to have been incarcerated throughout all of Riker's lifetime so far, which is offered as a proof that he couldn't possibly have influenced Riker's life. Well hello, since the Q can all travel through time at the snap of a finger, and as evidenced here can easily be in two or more places at the same time, that isn't even remotely as good a proof as the court seems to take it on the surface.

Also of no small importance is the clock in the Q continuum that has no hands - a clear indication that the Q continuum and its members, like DS9's Wormhole Prophet Aliens, exist outside of time. Are they able to do anything at all without foreknowledge of what is to come?

Not surprisingly, a lot of the arguments brought up in the asylum hearing swing on the foreknowledge of what our asylum seeker will do, or what will happen to the continuum, if Janeway rules in his favour and he does what he sets out to do. This is quite often exactly the kind of thing that makes time travel or prime directive stories fall down, although most of what we get here today is tasteful enough.

But one flavour that I see being brewed here doesn't seem to get enough mention in the dialogue. If the outcome of this hearing will have as big an impact on the entire Q race as is readily admitted by both sides, does the Prime Directive not insist that Janeway allow the Q to police their own society and allow them to maintain their status quo? Sure, they're well beyond discovering warp drive, and they're mingling with the galaxy, and there's a form of open contact with them, but as we've seen in dealings with the politics of the Klingon Empire, there's a limit to how deeply Starfleet allows itself to get involved. It's a bit strange that this part of the debate never seems to crop up in the story's dialogue.

That said, I think it is in the best interests of the continuing drama of the franchise that the unknown is opted for, leaving interesting possibilities to explore in later episodes. I look forward to the repercussions next season....

Another note: Both Q's add a condition to the hearing before agreeing to it. Perhaps Janeway should add one as well at that point. She's supposed to be primarily trying to get her ship and everyone aboard back to the Alpha Quadrant, and looking for any shortcut possible. Now she's got two Q's in front of her, making obvious another way home. She should ask them to take her ship and crew home in exchange for holding the hearing, regardless of the outcome. Instead, she waits until de Lancie's Q offers it as a bribe for deciding in his favour. Now it's so late, she's lost her leverage. And so, Gilligan's Island syndrome continues, predictably, despite it not really making sense anymore.


(Star Trek - Voyager episode production code 131)
written by Jeri Taylor

Once again we see here the clash between former Maquis crewmembers and Janeway's steadfast determination to adhere to principles like the Prime Directive. But in some ways, like many a Trek writer has done before her, Janeway is to some degree using the phrase "Prime Directive" to justify a stance that has perhaps grown much wider in its scope.

The episode opens with Voyager under a particularly heavy attack from the Kazon, which isn't all that interesting a scene for Trek at this stage, but pays off well later in the episode as it gives weight to the arguments and the pressure that Janeway and her decisions are under. It does underscore the fact that non-involvement with the Kazon is no longer an option, since they have developed an obsession with Janeway's ship, and will dog it as long as they can.

And to be fair, Janeway does seem to have it in her character, as I have to an extent in mine, a not-so-wonderful instinct for a "no-deal" outcome. What exactly do I mean by that? Dr. Stephen Covey's 4th Habit of Highly Effective People outlines several types of outcome such as Win-Lose, Lose-Lose, etc. all the while touting "Win-Win" as the one people should strive for. As a side-note, he also mentions "win-win or no-deal" as a kind of safety-valve to keep in mind, to keep his readers out of less effective deals. Perhaps Janeway often opts for the no-deal option too quickly without examining more avenues more closely or with a cooler head. This seemed to be the case in the pilot episode, which stuck out at many fans, but she has since shown that it may be one of her own peculiar character flaws, which is interesting and believable.

And so I like that it takes a lot of convincing by a lot of other people around her to get her to give involvement with the Kazon another chance. I also like that she rejects some of the wilder ideas about what that involvement would be, and basically tries to set up a combination of minimal trade and non-aggression pact with them. These kinds of negotiations are probably long overdue.

Of course, we also get another new race introduced here, complicating matters and making them more interesting. We also have some returning guest stars coming back. All good.

If anything though, we also need to take into account that Voyager is basically traveling in a straight line through this space as fast as it can - so any win-win arrangements here are necessarily short term. The episode would go up a small notch if the negotiations acknowledged that, instead of making it seem like long-term associations were being discussed.... not that that wouldn't be a bad idea if, say, Voyager found a way home, became the expert Federation crew regarding the Delta Quadrant, and was sent back and forth on diplomatic missions.... in other words, end the Gilligan's Island syndrome arc and develop a new one. Not on the cards today, I'm afraid.

Well, this is an interesting episode, one of the better ones of season two I think, but still not great. I found it entertaining enough for the "hour". Perhaps the best part is the nice speech at the end confirming the idea of being led by principles first and foremost. It feels a bit more Stephen Covey than Gene Roddenberry here, and in-line with my beliefs, although it may still be debatable if the episode that preceded the speech today really proved the point Janeway believes it did.


(Star Trek - Voyager episode production code 132)
story by Michael De Luca
teleplay by Brannon Braga

Hehehe. Here we are at one of the most maligned episodes in Voyager's entire run.

Before I join in the bashing, I just want to give this story a point for bringing up a detailed discussion of Star Trek's warp factor scale, and generating audience interest in whether or not Voyager could be made to speed up and perhaps break a perceived barrier here. In itself, that's not at all a bad launch point for an episode, and in terms of discussing the warp scale, almost refreshing since all other Trek episodes seem to want to gloss over such background detail.

But perhaps there should have been more thought put into where they were going to go with all this dramatically. What will each scene along this journey really be about? The episode skips all over the place without finding a genuinely intriguing focus. Some scenes are all technobabble concerning ship structure. Some are about medical techniques and biological mutations. There's an astronaut's thread about being the first to achieve a new technical feat in Mankind's ability to travel - which feels quite forced and not quite true to the characters, particularly in the artificial triggers for some of these scenes. Dramatically, the story is all over the place.

Scientifically, today's holes are gaping and so ridiculous that I doubt if anyone will be following this one and believing in it. Perhaps the first and most obvious one is why they even attempt to achieve Warp 10 and/or beyond. They don't really need to go so fast as to get home instantaneously. Surely there's a Warp 9.995 or something that can get them home in 7 minutes, or 70 hours. Anything to improve on the projected 70 years, even slightly, would be worth it.

Is the whole mutation section here simply to give reason why Voyager will abandon this line of investigation in future episodes and return to its "Gilligan's Island Syndrome" status quo? Or is it here because Braga and co. like the anthology-style thought provoking mess it digs deeper into? Or both? In the end, this feels like a really cheesy "Outer Limits" episode, where no matter what the story was, the producers & network were sure to throw a funky monster in there somehow. And as with so many anthology-style stories that Braga shoe-horns into the continuing-character-style of one Star Trek series or another, he ends up reaching for the reset-button again so he can put his toys back before bedtime, and it has a particular lack of thought and believability behind it this time.

Though I might buy some kind of compressed time / accelerated evolution beyond the Warp 10 barrier, the story needed a more unrepeatable way of achieving Warp 10 in the first place, many more generations of humans through which evolution could show itself, and the ability to not even go there with a regular character. Let it be a guest crewmember or minor recurring character who endures the flight, such that he doesn't undergo a magic cure at the end ...if there's sufficient reason to believe it can work, which I'm not sure there is. Really, what will the actual drama be about, scene for scene? I'm not sure there is or ever was a good answer to that with the material here. The mutation angle is the most problematic and disposable element here, and should have been dropped.

Perhaps we could have achieved a good, non-Warp-10 speed with this episode, ended the Gilligan-come-home arc, and started a new Voyager-led exploration of the Delta Quadrant on purpose, complete with new arcs concerning all the races so far discovered. If so, maybe save this one up for the season finale, or the penultimate story of the season that leads into the finale. But of course, we know they didn't dare to dream of going there.

Yup, this one's a stinker. Interesting enough to see once. It does reinforce an ongoing information leak to the Kazon, if that contributes much to the overall season, although of course the Kazon don't do anything with this discovery either. Otherwise, this episode is just not great. The most you can do is laugh, in a this-is-so-bad-it's-almost-funny/good kind of way.

Voyager Season Two Rankings:

  1. Cold Fire (This captivated my interest as major arcs and mental powers were explored & advanced. Good!)
  2. The 37's (Wonderful ideas. Rich production value. Nice emotional scenes. But at the end of the day, it's a one-off that develops nothing. Oh well.)
  3. Dreadnought (good tense drama, good Trek)
  4. Persistence of Vision (A nice Jeri Taylor script, with a lot of common sci-fi bizarre stuff, but done WELL!, with minimal technobabble and lots of feeling. All three regular women well-served. Men... ehh, it's not their day.)
  5. Lifesigns (very good Doctor story, Kes gets good material too, but Paris has become a cartoon since "Threshold". What gives? On-going arcs do help maintain interest though.)
  6. Maneuvers (the Seska arc continues)

  7. Alliances
  8. Parturition
  9. Death Wish
  10. Elogium (interesting character material & advancements, even if somewhat problematic in the long-term)
  11. Basics (excess production value, disappointing end for some characters, dramatic threads not that good, but it does have moments & impact)
  12. The Thaw (Predates "The Matrix" while outsmarting the system better in many ways, but goes for silly candy-horror instead of cool martial-arts wirework.)
  13. Prototype

  14. Investigations (good intrigue, but probably would have worked better if not centered on Neelix)
  15. Initiations (interesting, with good production value, but gets a bit silly near the end)
  16. Projections (starts off well, ends with too many bland reveals, while repeating the SAME long technobabble explanation)
  17. Tuvix (not bad drama for Kes & Janeway, but Tim Russ & Ethan Phillips have little to do in an episode all about their characters, it's very weird, and we are just waiting for the reset button to be pushed.)
  18. Resolutions (interesting ideas... if only they led to anything that mattered. Other than Chakotay's ancient legend, plus possibly a bit of the crew interaction on the ship, it's just one big reset button pushed. And we are resetting several MONTHS here, starting 17 days before the opening, plus at least six weeks of Voyager flying onwards, all to retrace its steps taking possibly another six weeks at the slow speed Tuvok chooses. I'd say this beats "Pen Pals" from TNG's second season [an 8-week affair] as the most stretched out time-frame of any single Trek episode - not a bad idea in theory, if only it didn't annul all possible progress.)
  19. Tattoo (ending is interesting, but the journey is BORING!!)
  20. Meld (Brad Dourif is good, and the episode is nicely dramatic, but we are exploring CRAP in this one 90% of the time. I will though give a philosophical point to Dourif's final warning.)
  21. Deadlock (mildly interesting scientifically; a big "so-what?" dramatically. DS9's "Visionary" was far superior.)
  22. Non Sequitur
  23. Twisted (aimless bottle story... nice end, but you know they'll ignore all the new data in the computer bank in future eps. Kes's 2nd birthday is the highlight.)
  24. Innocence (BORING!! 45 min. waiting for artificial conflict to collapse from the obvious reversals postponed for the ending)
  25. Resistance (can't hope for much here other than returning regulars to starting position and hoping for a better ep next week)

  26. Threshold (Haaaahahaha...)

These Star Trek Voyager Season Two stories are available on DVD.
Click on the Amazon symbol for the desired disc format and location nearest you for pricing and availability:

Star Trek: Voyager
Season Two
(Fall 1995-1996):

26 episodes @ 43 minutes.

Get your copy of this 7-disc DVD set
from the links below:

DVD Extras include:

  • Time Capsule featurette: Tuvok
  • Braving the Unknown: Season Two
  • Saboteur Extraordinaire
  • A Day in the Life of Ethan Phillips
  • Red Alert: Visual Effects Season 2
  • Real Science with André Bormanis
  • Lost Transmissions from the Delta Quadrant
  • A special text trivia version of "The 37's"


DVD Canada



Article written by Martin Izsak. Comments on this article are welcome. You may contact the author from this page:

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