“Star Trek: Voyager” (Season 2)


I recently learned that VOY is the fave of all the ST series of Georgia politician Stacey Abrams! Her older sis (who had her own room/TV) got her into TNG starting from its first ep (1987); all the sibs eventually got into the show. In OCT (over quarantine), Abrams was on a panel of ST actors (incl. Kate Mulgrew) and politicians during a fundraising event for Biden. Andrew Yang and Julian Castro (who both ran for prez) are also Trekkies. Abrams said that she greatly admired Capt. Janeway; also VOY brought new viewers in (who weren’t familiar w/ ST universe).

Now, S1 is really nothing to brag about; you need patience when starting this show. The characters are not yet fleshed out; each ep has them behaving somewhat differently. Janeway (Mulgrew- already a veteran of TV/theater), the Doctor (Robert Picardo- a former Emmy nominee), and Tuvok (Tim Russ) seem to be most comfortable w/ their roles. Kes (Jennifer Lien) seems to be a natural, too. Some fans didn’t like how quickly Janeway and Chakotay became friends; they wanted to see more of her friendship w/ Tuvok (who worked w/ her for 7 yrs). It’s obvious that Neelix (Ethan Phillips) and- to a lesser extent- Kim (Garrett Wang)- are the comic relief. The writer-producers (Berman, Piller, Taylor) leave the door open for romance between Janeway/Paris, Janeway/Chakotay, Paris/Kes, and The Doctor/Kes. E15 (Learning Curve) wasn’t meant to be the S1 finale! Tuvok sees that the Maquis aren’t fully integrated into the crew; Janeway’s solution is to have him train some Maquis (selected by Chakotay) in the ways of Star Fleet. Those selected are pissed off about this and refuse to participate, but then Chakotay punches Ensign Dalby in the cafeteria “the Maquis way” (LOL)!

Season 2: Selected Episodes

Episode 2: Initiations

Chakotay goes off in a shuttle to honor his dead father; he is attacked for being in Kazon-Ogla space by a teenaged Kazon wanting to earn his warrior name. Chakotay defeats the Kazon vessel and saves the boy, Kar (Aron Eisenberg- Nog on DS9), by transporting him aboard the shuttlecraft. When Chakotay tries to return his prisoner to another Kazon vessel, Kar begs to be killed before they’re captured. After Kar reveals that he will now never earn his name, Chakotay escapes from the Kazon vessel, and Kar goes w/ him. Chakotay’s shuttle crashes on a moon (the same location- Vasquez Rocks- used in the TOS ep Arena where Capt. Kirk battled the Gorn) full of booby traps; it’s used as a training base for young Kazons.

Chakotay: It may mean something to you to die a violent death, but I’d like to get out of this without killing or being killed.

Kar: You’d rather die in your sleep, a wrinkled old man?

Chakotay: Sounds about right.

This ep is where we (finally) learn more re: the Kazon; we see the (fatherly) side of Chakotay (which I liked). Detractors online refer to these aliens (who don’t come off very interesting) as “discount Klingons”- LOL! Jeri Taylor explained that the Kazon were modeled after LA street gangs; there are several factions who compete for power. Some fans have also noted that the Kazon were like nomads (I think that’s more re: their clothing). I used to work w/ teens (tutoring and subbing) so it took me back to that time; they can be annoying, but are also in need of guidance. Kar found out a (clever) way to get his name w/o killing. In the final scene, Chakotay is saying a prayer- he includes Kar in it (which I thought was touching).

Episode 3: Projections

…delivers a mysterious sequence of illusions with a genuine sense of style and captivation. Finally, Brannon Braga has written a story that gives him a chance to do high-concept—his storytelling specialty—while shining with terrific character moments and witty twists and turns.

Picardo and Schultz both turn in exceptional performances and make a remarkable comedy duo. Their screen chemistry is one of the episode’s many strengths

-Jammer’s Reviews

The EMH is activated due to what the computer describes as a ship-wide emergency. When the Doctor asks the computer to scan for the crew, he learns that they were forced to abandon ship. Later, he meets Torres, who says that she and Capt. Janeway stayed behind to stop a warp core breach caused by a Kazon attack. The Doctor is sent to the Bridge, courtesy of new holo-emitters installed throughout the ship. After reviving Janeway, the Doctor is called to the mess hall to assist Neelix, who is fighting off a Kazon soldier. After the scuffle, the holographic doctor is astonished to learn that he himself is bleeding! When asked, the computer insists that the Doctor is actually Dr. Lewis Zimmerman (the human engineer who created the EMH program).

Lt. Barclay: Lewis, how would you rather think of yourself? As a real person, with a real life, with a family that loves you? Or as some… hologram, that exists in a sickbay, on a starship, lost in deep space?

TNG fans (well, maybe some) will be happy to see Lt. Barclay (Dwight Schultz) guest star in this ep, which was directed by Jonathan Frakes. This was the ep that Frakes submitted to get the Star Trek: First Contact directing job. Barclay was one of the few characters who struggled (not unlike real people) on TNG; he was socially awkward and relied too much on his holodeck programs. This is very well-done (as many viewers have noted); it shows us that the series has potential!

Episode 4: Elogium

Voyager encounters new life forms that have an unusual attraction to the ship; helm controls and shields are disabled. The crew try to escape w/o harming the swarm, but when the creatures begin attaching themselves to the hull, they cause more issues to the ship’s systems. Kes’s reproductive cycle (“the elogium”) is triggered; if she wants to have a child, it must be now. Throughout the ep, concerns arise over fraternization among the crew; Janeway and Chakotay discuss whether the ship is a good place to raise children. Ensign Samantha Wildman (Nancy Hower) reveals to Janeway that she’s pregnant by her husband (back on DS9).

Kes: [on becoming a parent] I’m not sure I’m finished growing; how could I help a child grow?

Neelix: [the prospect of fatherhood] It’s just all happening so fast. I don’t know what to think.

Wildman was named after a real little girl who died in an accident; her organs were transplanted into the wife of Voyager writer Jimmy Diggs. A young guest writer (Kenneth Biller) brought in an original script; the producers were impressed and he joined the show as executive story editor. The cold open has an (unusual for ST) scene- the turbolift opens and two of the crew are kissing; this surprises and concerns Chakotay. He goes to the captain to discuss the matter (which is a very interesting topic, as many viewers commented). The ship (w/ a crew of about 150) was only supposed to be away 3 weeks.

Janeway: We’re a long way from home. Everyone is lonely, and… all we have is each other. I think, eventually people will begin to pair off.

Chakotay: Including you?

Janeway: As Captain, that’s a luxury I don’t have.

It looks like fans are divided on this ep; some thought it was enjoyable, others thought it was cliched. For those who are “shippers” of Janeway and Chakotay, there are a few fun moments. (FYI: A shipper is person who discusses, writes about, or hopes for a romantic relationship between fictional characters or between famous people). I find the relationship (they are dating, but don’t share quarters) between Neelix and Kes to be weird! Also, Neelix has a jealous side- thinking that Paris is interested in Kes. I liked the scene in the mess hall where Neelix (nervous re: being a father) asks Tuvok re: children and family life. I read that this story was meant to draw comparison to teen pregnancy.

Episode 8: Persistance of Vision

The Doctor: I’ve checked Starfleet regulations. The chief medical officer outranks the captain in health matters. Now, I realize this may be the first time a hologram has given an order to a captain, but… I’m ordering you to report to the holodeck – now!

Janeway: Aye, sir.

As Voyager readies for a (potentially dangerous) encounter w/ a new alien race (the Bothan), the Doctor orders an exhausted Janeway to relax in the holodeck. Before long, she is called back to the Bridge; the Bothan representative sets up a rendezvous to determine whether or not they’ll allow Voyager to pass through their space. Janeway starts seeing characters and objects from her holonovel; she goes to sick-bay, but The Doctor cannot find anything wrong w/ her brain. She goes to rest in her quarters, but soon is attacked by a character (holding a knife)! It turns out that Kes also sees what the captain sees; she’s not losing her mind. Janeway puts Chakotay in charge, while the Doctor runs more tests.

In an attempt to take over Voyager, an alien presence is manipulating the thoughts of the crew by distracting them w/ elements of their own sub-consious. Janeway sees her fiance Mark; Tuvok talks to his wife; Paris being called a loser by his father; and Torres allowing herself a passionate affair w/ her version of Chakotay (umm, that was unexpected). Before long, the entire ship falls under the spell, except for Kes and the Doctor. Three ships come out of nowhere and surround them.

I don’t mind this holo-novel nearly as much as others seem to… Janeway isn’t a secret masochist who enjoys being the victim of Victorian misogyny, she’s interested in the quieter drama of household life- something denied her in “real” life.

Janeway’s holonovel is a poorly disguised allusion to Jane Eyre… a strong female character in a time when females had no rights. The novel appeals to women because there is mystery, romance, fancy dresses, and British accents. Not the same type of fantasy men seek, but educated women love it. It fits Janeway’s character.

-Excerpts from commenters (Jammer’s Reviews)

This ep was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Hairstyling for a Series. It aired the day before Halloween; the two kids and housekeeper- Mrs. Templeton (Carolyn Seymour)- are quite creepy. This provided some TNG- era weirdness, but I wish it had been more focused on Janeway. She seems to feel a bit guilty about kissing Lord Burley (Michael Cumptsy), even though he’s not a real man.

Episode 9: Tattoo

While on an away mission, Chakotay finds symbols and structures similar to ones he saw when he was 15 y.o. on a trip through the Amazon w/ his father. When the weather, plants, and animals of the planet seem to be opposed to the presence of Voyager and its crew, Chakotay seeks a way to gain the trust of the inhabitants. Meanwhile, the Doctor programs himself with flu symptoms in order to empathize with his patients.

Kolopak: From the day you came out of your mother – upside down – I knew the Spirits have chosen you to be a contrary.

Young Chakotay: No one chooses for me. I choose my own way. And if that makes me a contrary, I’ll have to live with it.

Kolopak: If you have no spirits to guide you, I fear you will lose your way.

…his pseudo-American Indian talk of spirit guides and the like sounded to me more like some white person’s idea of what a native sounded like than anything else.

-Excerpt from a comment on IMDB

This is a character piece (written by Michael Piller) for Chakotay which would’ve fit better in S1; it has several flashbacks. Young Chakotay (Douglas Spain) is sullen and doesn’t care re: spirituality; his father, Kolopak (Henry Darrow), wants him to be connected w/ his ancestors. Eventually, Young Chakotay reveals that he was sponsored by a Capt. Sulu to attend Starfleet Academy (a reference to TOS). It turned out that the Native American consultant who was hired to provide input on the show was a fraud; he’d changed his name and was of Armenian heritage! This con man had also tricked foundations into giving him thousands of dollars in grants (bringing to mind Rachel Dolezal and Jessica Krug).

Episode 10: Cold Fire

Tuvok: If you are to succeed in honing your telepathic abilities, you must learn to control these emotional outbursts.

Kes: Outburst? It was a giggle!

Kes and the Doctor notice a change in the remains of the Caretaker (10 mos. after being trapped in Delta Quadrant); they seem to be resonating in response to some energy source. Remembering that the Caretaker mentioned a female of his kind, Janeway wonders if she may be nearby; a meeting w/ her could be their ticket home. Tuvok develops a toxin that could debilitate this lifeform (if she poses a threat). Following the energy trail, the crew comes upon another array (also inhabited by Ocampa); they fire on the ship. Kes acts as the crew’s liaison to the Ocampa; their leader, Tanis (Gary Graham), comes on board and she assures him that they come in peace.

Tanis: Captain, are you aware of how your ship is regarded, that when Voyager appears, people fear destruction?

Ocampa Man: Your ship is known as a ship of death.

I saw this ep… and realized that (wow), this series has the potential to be good! Graham (who does a fine job here) was one of the actors considered for Janeway (back when UPN wasn’t sure if they’d have a female captain). Tanis’ Ocampa seem to be more confident, live much longer than Kes’ group, and have stronger telekinetic powers. Also, when you learn that their Caretaker is named “Suspiria,” you know it’s not going to be positive- LOL! We see the dark side of Kes- that was unexpected; it’s unlike what we’ve come across in TOS and TNG.

The scenes where Kes uses her new skills on Tuvok and later on Tanis are much darker than one usually sees in Star Trek…

-Excerpt from IMDB review

Kes’ powers disappear as soon as Tanis leaves, illustrating another example of Reset Button Plotting – how to change characters just so they can change back 30 minutes later.

-Jammer’s Reviews

Episode 11: Manuevers

After Voyager detects a Federation probe, the bridge-crew wonder if Starfleet has been looking for them. After setting a course for the beacon, they find it in an ion cloud and grow suspicious. The Kazon-Nistrim attack, matching their beams w/ the shield-harmonics of Voyager. The Kazon ram and puncture the hull of Voyager w/ a small craft, enabling them to steal one of the transporter modules. This event causes a destabilized warp-field; to prevent the Kazon from escaping, a tractor-beam locks on, and Maj Culluh (Anthony De Longis) hails them. Seska (Marth Hackett), now reverting back to her true (Cardassian) form, has allied w/ Culluh. She calls Chakotay predictable and causes a feedback-loop which breaks the tractor-beam entirely. Voyager, unable to sustain a stable warp-field, can’t pursue. Janeway explains the ramifications of allowing Federation tech to be in the hands of the Kazon.

Torres: [referring to Seska manipulating the Voyager crew] You’re taking this all very personally, aren’t you?

Chakotay: Why shouldn’t I?

Torres: You are not responsible for what happened.

Chakotay: Oh, no? I let her join the Maquis. I took her into my confidence. I even got… intimately involved with her.

Torres: So you have lousy taste in women.

Chakotay (reverting to his lone wolf/Maquis roots) goes after the Kazon-Nistrim ship to retrieve or destroy the tech; he gets captured! He’s taunted by Seska, then tortured for info on Voyager, but he doesn’t give up anything. By the time Voyager turns up to rescue him, the Nistrim ship has been joined by other Kazon sects (who Seska brought together). I thought this was a good ep w/ some well-done action. Seska makes a decent villain; she may betray Cullah (who is under-developed), as Chakotay points out. Her final message to Chakotay showed how bad she can be; it will remind you of a soap opera plot! Hackett was pregnant (in real life) when she shot that scene.

Episode 14: Alliances

[Hogan has suggested that Voyager give the Kazon some of their technology to resolve the conflict w/ them]

Janeway: I appreciate your concerns, Crewman. But let me make it absolutely clear: I’ll destroy this ship before I turn any part of it over to the Kazon!

A Kazon attack results in the death of a well-liked Voyager crewman, ex-Maquis Kurt Bendera. Stakes are high now; there have been several (heavy) attacks in recent weeks from the Kazon. Chakotay, a good friend of Bendera, delivers the eulogy. After the funeral, Jonas (Raphael Sbrage) and Hogan (Simon Billig) approach Janeway and suggest that Voyager share their tech w/ the Kazon. Of course, Janeway is not having it! Chakotay voices the proposal of forming an alliance w/ one or two Kazon factions. Janeway goes to have a talk w/ Tuvok; he talks re: peace formed by the alliance between the Federation and Klingons. Should Voyager (alone- far from Starfleet) compromise its regulations in order to survive?

Janeway: [to Tuvok re: banding together with the Kazon] How can I consider it? I can’t just walk away from the precepts Starfleet has laid out for us. You don’t deal with outlaws. You don’t involve yourself in the political machinations of other cultures. It goes against everything I believe, everything I’ve trained for, everything experience has taught me.

Janeway decides to meet w/ Seska and Maje Cullah (who is a total mysogonist jerk); when Cullah asks for an exchange of crew, she rejects it. Meanwhile, Neelix decides to use some of his contacts to propose an alliance w/ a different tribe (Kazon-Pommar). Eventually, Janeway decides to ally w/ the Trabe (former enslavers of the Kazon); they created the ships and tech that were stolen by the Kazon. The Trabe insist they only want to find a new home world and leave their past behind. Their leader, Mabus (Charles Lucia), urges Janeway to gather the heads of the Kazon sects for a peace conference. Well, how can Janeway resist this (as a by-the-the book captain)!? Neelix tips her off that there might be danger during these talks, but Janeway decides to proceed (in the hopes of bringing stability to the region).

Janeway: I hope there’s a lesson for all of us in this. Although some of the species we’ve encountered here have been peaceful, others seem governed only by their own self-interests. This appears to be a region of space that doesn’t have many rules. But I believe we can learn something from the events that have unfolded. In a part of space where there are few rules, it’s more important than ever that we hold fast to our own. In a region where shifting allegiances are commonplace, we have to have something stable to rely on; and we do: the principles and ideals of the Federation. As far as I’m concerned, those are the best allies we could have.

Captain Janeway’s resolve to strictly adhere to the prime direction is strengthened in this episode after being tested by Chakotay and Tuvok’s well intentioned counsel.

To Chakotay’s credit his idea of a mutual protection pact makes sense and, as a first officer, his duty is to provide the captain with options and recommendations.

-Excerpt from IMDB review

Episode 16: Meld

Tuvok investigates the murder of a Voyager engineer. Former Maquis and Betazoid, Lon Suder (Brad Dourif- best known as Grima on LOTR), quickly confesses to the murder w/ no explanation or remorse. Tuvok, curious to find a reason for Suder’s behavior, performs a mind-meld (to find himself losing his usual Vulcan control and descending into violence). Tom is disrespectful to Chakotay, beginning an important subplot of S2.

This is the first ST ep whose development involved Michael Sussman, a writing intern at the time who later wrote/ co-wrote 10 subsequent eps of the series. We also see the brig on Voyager for the first time; there is no death penalty (according to the rules of the Federation). Russ does a fine job, as does Dourif, making this one of the must-see eps of the season.

Star Trek is generally at it’s best when it tells a personal story. The heart in battle with itself is a term I hear thrown about quite a bit and that fits in this particular case. The performance of Suder was fascinating. The way he is written is excellent… he is ultimately just a naturally violent man who harbors no hatred for his victim; he just enjoys releasing his rage. …Suder is sympathetic in his own way, as he caringly tries to talk sense into Tuvok when he enters the brig with the intention of murdering him.

-Excerpt from IMDB review

Episode 18: Death Wish

Q learns that Voyager is lost in the Delta Quadrant.

Q: Well, I guess that’s what we get for having a woman in the captain’s seat.

[Janeway suggests a hearing]

Q: A hearing? You would have me put his future into your delicate little hands? Oh!… so touchably soft. What is your secret, dear?

I think I’m one of many who like Q (John de Lancie); this is his first appearance on this series. Yes, it deals w/ a serious issue (another Q’s right to die), but there is also humor. We get a guest appearance by Frakes; Janeway is excited to meet him. Mulgrew and de Lancie were friends (in real life); they have good chemistry. Looking back now, there are a few problematic lines/moments (such as when Q pops into Janeway’s bed). Of course, she is not having it!

Episode 19: Lifesigns

To help save the life of a Vidiian scientist, Dr. Denara Pel (Susan Diol- who I know from One Life to Live), who’s dying from the Phage, the Doctor creates a holographic body to preserve her mind. It’s the first time she is experiencing life (w/o the disease) in years; the adaptive programming opens up the Doctor to romance. Meanwhile, Tom’s growing insubordination lands him in the brig, and Jonas balks at an order from the Kazon-Nistrim to sabotage the ship.

This is the ep where the Doctor falls in love- which is surprising, yet a happy, incident. Tom gives him advice re: planning a romantic date. We see how a healthy Vidian would look (for the first time). Dinara’s final decision is opposite to the one chosen in The Cage by Vina in TOS, who chose to continue living her illusion of beauty rather than return to her people in her disfigured state.

Episode 20: Investigations

Looking for some serious news for his “A Briefing with Neelix” ship-wide broadcasts, Neelix learns of Paris’ immanent departure from Voyager. Shortly after Paris disembarks for a Talaxian convoy, problems develop with the ship’s warp engines. Word of his abduction by the Kazon-Nistrim arrives; the swiftness of Paris’ capture leads Neelix to suspect a traitor aboard. Journalistic interest leads him to press on and, w/ Lt. Hogan’s help, brings to light a suspect- Paris.

Earlier in the season, some viewers wondered whether Hogan or Jonas was going to be the traitor; we’ve known for several eps that it was Jonas. He’d been asking to speak w/ Seska, but had to deal w/ a Kazon-Nistrim who was her assistant. I was a bit surprised that Janeway and Tuvok kept that plan re: Paris leaving from Chakotay. Paris acting like an immature jerk for several eps had a purpose after all.

…this show isn’t much about logic as it is about overblown spectacle. From Paris’ escape of the Kazon ship to Neelix’s big fight with Jonas once he’s found out, “Investigations” puts action ahead of storyline more times than not—unfortunately, with limited success.

-Jammer’s Reviews

Episode 21: Deadlock

A “spatial scission” causes Voyager to be duplicated; one of the ships is under heavy attack from the Vidiians while the other remains impervious. Both Janeways work together and (eventually) one decides to sacrifice her ship to save the other. Before the auto-destruct happens, the doomed Voyager sends its Ensign Kim and baby girl (born to Ensign Wildman) to the other ship, thus to replacing the Kim that was killed and the baby who dead from complications.

Two Janeways are better than one- esp. when they get to be badass! This was one of my fave eps so far in the series; it’s fun, fast-paced, w/ good action scenes. Yes, it’s written by Braga, but it’s one of the good ones! The directing is well done; they used one of the TNG veterans (David Livingston).

The raw energy of this episode makes it a winner, and, by the end of the show, everything feels like it more or less adds up in its own bizarre way, even if my brain doesn’t want to buy it. Braga shows the talent, I guess, for making things clear and confusing at the same time. Livingston shows the talent for turning it all into a gripping hour of science fiction.

-Jammer’s Reviews

Episode 25: Resolutions

An incurable viral infection forces Janeway and Chakotay to part from Voyager and take residence on a planet (which they name “New Earth”) that negates their symptoms. Their departure weighs heavily on the crew, almost to the point of insurrection against now Capt. Tuvok, who won’t consider contacting the (organ-harvesting) Vidiians for help. While Tuvok deals w/ the crew, a plasma storm threatens Janeway’s research to find a cure.

Fans are mixed on this ep (which could be relatable in quarantine life); shippers of Janeway and Chakotay love it, others aren’t as excited about it. Jeri Taylor (writer-producer) wrote this ep, talking inspo from (no doubt) romance novels. The characterization of Chakotay as a homemaker was way ahead of its time, as the (male) hosts of The People vs. Star Trek Voyager podcast commented. I loved the chemistry between Mulgrew and Beltran in all their scenes. I’m not sure why the needed to have the spider monkey; it turns out Rick Berman found this animal to be amusing- LOL!

Chakotay’s philosophy seems much more rational given the circumstances. He wants to build a home—accept that the disease is not curable and move on. And that’s the one interesting question “Resolutions” brings up—the subject of moving on, and the nature of the relationship which will form between Janeway and Chakotay in their isolated society of two. After weeks of denial, Janeway realizes that they have to discuss the personal effects of their situation, and where the future will take them. Janeway’s line, “I think we need to define some parameters about us,” was one of the episode’s few genuinely interesting moments, and Chakotay’s response, “I’m not sure if I can define parameters, but I can tell you an ancient story,” rang very true.

-Jammer’s Reviews

Episode 26: Basics: Part I

Janeway: [the problem with Seska allying with the Kason] She knows you, Chakotay. She knew how you’d react when you saw your son in danger.

Chakotay: I have a duty to this crew. I can’t just leave and go looking for the child.

Janeway: And I’d never consider letting you go into a Kazon-Nistrim stronghold by yourself. If we do this, we do it together. That’s something else Seska would know, too.

Seska’s distress call announcing the birth of Chakotay’s son puts the Voyager crew in a bind. We know that Seska and her Kazon-Nistrim allies are violent and untrustworthy. Chakotay must decide whether or not to accept the baby, as DNA for the conception was taken against his will (Manuevers). As Voyager gears up for confrontation w/ the Kazon, Suder (confined to quarters; undergoing therapy w/ Tuvok) begs Janeway to allow him to contribute (bio-engineer vegetables to increase food supply).

Cullah: [to Federation crewmen about Seska] What is it about the women from your quadrant? You know, she contradicts me in front of the senior askara? My own woman, disputing her Maje in front of others. This is your fault. You’ve let your women get out of control.

Piller wrote this ep (the finale of S2), which is a cliffhanger. I expected more, though I thought the pacing and direction were good. I liked the scene in Chakotay’s dream w/ his father; the actors had good chemistry. I liked all the stuff w/ Suder and Tuvok; we’re living not unlike Suder in quarantine- LOL! In my opinion, the most shocking moment was Culluh slapping Janeway on her own bridge- oh hell no!!! I wished that Seska had killed that guy already.

Here are some issues which critics/viewers bought up. Why is Voyager still near Kazon space (after mos. of travel)? Why aren’t the Kazon written as more interesting villains? After the crew finds the wounded Kazon, Tierna (John Gegunhuber), on his damaged shuttle floating in space, why do they trust him? He should’ve been watched 24/7, so he couldn’t do the suicide bombing. Though the special effects are OK (I’m on my first watch), why aren’t they close to being on par w/ DS9 (which I’ve been re-watching recently)?

It’s shocking to see Voyager commandeered by the Kazon and the crew forced off their ship. I could see the writers had no idea how to resolve this, but I could also see they left their options open with Tom, the Doctor, AND Suder all being wildcards.

The episode provided a gripping conclusion to the second series; with the crew stranded on a prehistoric planet and the Kazon in control of the ship it will be interesting to see how they can retake it.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

“Star Trek: Voyager” (Season 1)


The best thing was simply the privilege and the challenge of being able to take a shot at the first female captain, transcending stereotypes that I was very familiar with. I was able to do that in front of millions of viewers. That was a remarkable experience—and it continues to resonate.

-Kate Mulgrew

Star Trek: Voyager (VOY) is a sci-fi TV series created by Rick Berman, Michael Piller, and Jeri Taylor (who all worked on TNG). It originally aired from JAN 1995 to MAY 2001 on the newly est. United Paramount Network (UPN), lasting for 172 episodes over 7 seasons. Paramount Pictures commissioned the series following the end of TNG to accompany the ongoing DS9. Berman served as head executive producer (EP) in charge of the overall production, assisted by a series of EPs: Piller, Taylor, Brannon Braga (who started as an intern on TNG), and Kenneth Biller. Some of Braga’s teleplays, as well as his decisions as showrunner (in this series), were considered controversial. More on that later (if I continue to review the show)…

VOY is set in the 24th century, and follows the adventures of the USS Voyager (an Intrepid class starship) as it tries to return home (Earth) after being stranded in the Delta Quadrant (the other side of the galaxy). It was the first of the franchise w/ a female captain as lead character, Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). Racial diversity was built-in from the start, as the studio wanted; the ensemble cast was made-up of Latinos (Robert Beltran; Roxann Dawson), a Black actor as a Vulcan (Tim Russ- the runner-up for LaForge on TNG), and a Chinese-American newcomer to acting (Garrett Wang). I learned that Dawson grew up w/ Shatner’s daughters; she was formerly married to actor Casey Biggs (best known as Damar on DS9). The conflicted relationship between Starfleet and former Federation colonists living along the Demilitarized Zone (the Maquis) is explored. Viewers see new alien species as recurring characters, but some familiar adversaries also show up. Being so far from the Federation (75 yrs), Voyager is truly going where no one has gone before!

I will take full responsibility for any flawed or downright bad storytelling or creative decisions that hurt the franchise.Brannon Braga (2010)

The show was shot on the stages TNG had used. Costume designer Robert Blackman decided that the uniforms of crew would be the same as those on DS9. Jerry Goldsmith composed and conducted a new main theme (which is OK, but not as cool as the one for DS9). This was the first ST series to use CGI, rather than models, for exterior space shots.

Series Premiere (Caretaker, Parts I & II)

In the pilot ep, USS Voyager departs the DS9 space station on a mission into the Badlands. They’re searching for a missing ship piloted by a team of Maquis; Voyager‘s security officer, Lt. Tuvok (Russ), is on board gathering intelligence. While in the Badlands, Voyager is enveloped by a powerful energy wave that kills several crew members, damages the ship, and strands it in the Delta Quadrant. The wave was not a natural phenomenon; it was used by an alien entity (the Caretaker). This entity is responsible for the continued care of the Ocampa (a race of aliens native to the Delta Quadrant) and has been abducting other species from in an effort to find a successor.

The Maquis ship was also pulled into the Delta Quadrant; eventually, the two crews join forces after the Caretaker’s space array is destroyed in a battle w/ a local alien species (the Kazon). Chakotay (Beltran), the leader of this Maquis group who left Starfeet to protect his home colony, becomes first officer. B’Elanna Torres (Biggs-Dawson), a half-human/half-Klingon who dropped out of Starfleet Academy, is assigned engineering. Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeil), a pilot released from a Federation prison, is the helm officer. Harry Kim (Wang) is the young ensign on his first mission. The Doctor (Robert Picardo), an emergency medical hologram (EMH) meant for short-term use, is employed as the ship’s F/T chief medical officer. Also, two Delta Quadrant aliens are on board- Neelix (Ethan Phillips), a Talaxian scavenger- and Kes (Jennifer Lien), a young Ocampa.

Capt. Janeway: We’re alone – in an uncharted part of the galaxy. We’ve already made some friends here… and some enemies. We have no idea of the dangers we’re going to face. But one thing is clear: both crews are going to have to work together if we’re to survive. That’s why Commander Chakotay and I have agreed that this should be one crew – a Starfleet crew. And as the only Starfleet vessel assigned to the Delta Quadrant, we’ll continue to follow our directive: to seek out new worlds and explore space. But our primary goal is clear. Even at maximum speeds, it would take 75 years to reach the Federation. But I’m not willing to settle for that. There’s another entity like the Caretaker out there somewhere who has the ability to get us there a lot faster. We’ll be looking for her. And we’ll be looking for wormholes, spatial rifts, or new technologies to help us. Somewhere, along this journey, we’ll find a way back.

Season 1: Selected Episodes

Episode 2: Parallax

Repairs are underway and it’s time to pick personnel for senior crew positions. Tensions are high as the (disciplined) Starfleet crew absorbs the (go your own way) Maquis members. Neelix finds his place as chef and Kes builds the airponics bay. Paris is the Conn Officer and also trains as a field medic w/ the EMH. Chakotay recommends Torres for Chief Engineer, but Janeway isn’t convinced (b/c of the woman’s hot temper). All must put opinions aside when they mount a rescue of a ship caught in a quantum singularity, only to find the ship in distress is Voyager itself.

Cmdr. Chakotay: You’re right, Captain, I do consider these my people, because nobody else on this ship will look out for them like I will. And I’m telling you: you’re gonna have to give them more authority if you want their loyalty.

Capt. Janeway: Theirs? Or yours, Commander?

The ep starts (cold open) w/ a man in the yellow Starfleet uniform exclaiming in Sick Bay that “she broke my nose!” No, it’s not the captain, it’s Torres- she has a hard time controlling her temper. It turns out that she’s a gifted engineer also; in one meeting scene, Torres and Janeway get very excited re: science. Now, this isn’t the kind of scene you see everyday on TV! Later on, Janeway and Torres go out on a shuttlecraft to gather more info; we learn that some of the teachers at the Academy saw potential in Torres (though she didn’t realize it).

Episode 5: Phage

With dilithium reserves running low, Janeway follows Neelix’s advice and proceeds to the nearest supply. When they arrive in orbit, scans reveal a massive supply. When the away team transports down to the planet, there is none there. Cmdr. Chakotay orders the away team back to Voyager but before they return, Neelix is attacked by an alien (Vidiian) who removes his lungs! The Vidiians are potentially quite scary villains w/ advanced tech. The EMH then comes up with a solution – holographic lungs, but this means that Neelix has to stay in a restraint. Capt. Janeway along with Cmdr. Tuvok and a security attachment return to the planet to find the alien. They make a gruesome discovery- a lab full of alien organs!

Capt. Janeway: Take a message to your people: if I ever encounter your kind again, I will do whatever is necessary to protect my people from this… harvesting of yours. Any aggressive actions against this ship or its crew will be met by the deadliest force. Is that clear?

Episode 6: Eye of the Needle

[Telek R’Mor has admitted to not having seen his family for over a year]

Capt. Janeway: You must miss your family very much.

Telek R’Mor: I knew, when I accepted this assignment, that there would be a price to pay. Perhaps I didn’t realize how high that price would be.

The crew detects a wormhole and immediately changes course w/ hopes it will provide a faster passage home. Upon reaching the opening, the find it to be too small for the ship, but large enough to establish contact w/ a ship in the Alpha Quadrant. This is the first appearance of veteran ST guest actor Vaughn Armstrong in this series. He is playing the Romulan captain/scientist; he played Klingons and Cardassians in TNG and DS9.

This is the best ep of the (lackluster) S1 of the series. Like most new shows, the first few eps are a bit unclear, w/ characters still coming into their own and the writing lacking depth. Some critics/fans commented that these problems are esp. true of genre shows; the first seasons of TNG and DS9 weren’t impressive. Janeway’s talk at night (in a pink nightgown) w/ the Romulan is esp. well done; she gets the chance to talk to a peer and has some hope for the future.

The captain of the Romulan science vessel is named Telek (played by Vaughn Armstrong) in one of the most sympathetic portrayals of a Romulan in recent memory. Telek isn’t your typical villain personality, he’s a real person. Initially, he’s not forthcoming with assistance. He’s suspicious, and severely doubts Janeway’s claims that Voyager is transmitting from the Delta Quadrant. He wonders what a Federation ship could possibly gain from pretending to be in the Delta Quadrant.

-Excerpt from Jammer’s Reviews

Janeway is the most sympathetic and sincere captain that we have been presented with throughout all the series, and I feel that in her talk to the Romulan about the crew wanting to make contact with their families.

The best Star Trek makes you feel some emotion and this one succeeds in that regard.

-Excerpt from IMDB review

Episode 10: Prime Factors

Voyager makes friends with the Sikarians, a hospitable/pleasure-seeking alien race who value stories. When Janeway realizes they have the ability to “fold” space (instantly transporting people 40,000 light years), she is desperate for the technology. The Sikarians’ leaders, Gath, explains that their law forbids sharing their tech. Several Maquis refuse to give up on this chance to get over halfway home and try to make a trade. There are a few scenes where Gath (who comes off as too forward and a a bit creepy) is trying to get close to Janeway; some fans commented that the casting was off.

Capt. Janeway: It’s the first time we’ve been on the other side of the fence.

Lt. Tom Paris: What fence?

Capt. Janeway: The one that’s made of binding principles. We have our own set of rules, which includes the Prime Directive. How many times have we been in the position of refusing to interfere when some kind of disaster threatened an alien culture? It’s all very well to say we do it on the basis of an enlightened principle. But how does that feel to the aliens? I’m sure many of them think the Prime Directive is a lousy idea.

This ep’s writing was nominated for a Sci-Fi Universe Award. David R. George III and Eric A. Stillwell (freelancers) wrote an original story where the crew encountered the race that had dispatched Gary Seven in TOS: Assignment: Earth; they’d boasted transporter technology that could transport people over thousands of light-years. The events of this ep represent the second time (besides the premiere) that Voyager’s crew encounters the possibility of returning home.

[1] A very philosophical episode and one wonders if the Captain would still have been disappointed if the device had worked. But then when do the ends justify the means? Tough call.

[2] The crew really becomes human for this episode, almost sacrificing their personal bill of rights.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

Episode 11: State of Flux

Voyager answers a distress call from a Kazon-Nistrim ship, finding all but one of the crew dead in an explosion. Investigation reveals that the Kazon were experimenting w/ Federation tech (perhaps acquired from a traitor on the ship)! While discussing if Seska could be a Cardassian agent, Tuvok mentions that Starfleet has documented several cases of Cardassians using cosmetic alterations for the purposes of infiltrating an enemy (shown repeatedly in DS9). In this ep, we learn that Seska (Martha Hackett) and Chakotay are former lovers; she wishes to rekindle the romance (but he doesn’t).

Cmdr. Chakotay: The one thing I still can’t understand is… why?

Seska: I did it for you. I did it for this crew. We are alone here, at the mercy of any number of hostile aliens, because of the incomprehensible decision of a Federation captain – a Federation captain who destroyed our only chance to get home. Federation rules. Federation nobility. Federation compassion? Do you understand, if this had been a Cardassian ship, we would be home now! We must begin to forge alliances. To survive, we must have powerful friends. The Kazon-Nistrim were willing to be our protectors, in return for some minor technology.

It’s very unusual to see a villain in a Starfleet uniform, but this is a new world! Torres also feels betrayed by Seska- they were friends. Some viewers commented that (in a way) Seska could be right; Federation ways may not work in this area. Why wasn’t she put in the brig after they learned the truth? She just beamed out of sick bay so easily!

The exterior scenes of the cold open were filmed at Bronson Caves in Bronson Canyon. The leola root that was collected on the planet was made from a painted ginger root (as I assumed) w/ some additions to make it look more alien. The headdress that First Maje Cullah (Anthony De Longis) wore was mostly made out of sponges and dog chew toys- LOL! Torres’ line re: not exaggerating is a call-back to Scotty’s habit of exaggeration (which led to his becoming known as a miracle worker on TOS).

Beyond the Seska reveal we do get some good character development scenes. An early scene with Chakotay being a stickler about honesty in regards to the theft of the mushroom soup. Captain Janeway being a bad ass with the following quote directed at the Kazon, “I don’t like bullies, I don’t like threats and I don’t like you…” We get more Tuvok development as a dogged investigator who plans out a clever trap with the help of Chakotay.

-Excerpt from IMDB review

Episode 13: Faces

Lts. Paris, Torres, and Durst are imprisoned by the Vidiians. In an attempt to develop a cure for the phage, a Vidiian doctor splits Torres into two people (one Klingon and one Human) b/c he believes Klingons are immune to the Phage. The two escape the prison, but the Klingon Torres is fatally injured protecting the Human while she cracks the computer to escape. Before her death, the Klingon Torres tells her Human half that showing courage makes her death honorable. The Doctor tells the Human Torres that she will not survive unless he re-integrates her Klingon DNA.

Cmdr. Chakotay: I’d have to say that you two made quite a team down there.

Human B’Elanna Torres: I know. I came to admire a lot of things about her. Her strength – her bravery… I guess, I just have to accept the fact that I’ll spend the rest of my life fighting with her.

Tackling the ep was one of the first duties assigned to Kenneth Biller after he joined the writing staff. This ep was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series. Dawson dealt with the separation of her character’s personality, not only in her own mind, but also with copies of the episode’s script. She said, “I had two scripts, one labeled ‘The Klingon’ and the other labeled ‘The Human’. I went through each script, treated both as two totally separate people.”

“Star Trek: DS9” – Season 3 (Episodes 1 & 2: “The Search, Parts I & 11”)

Part I

Dax: …he could never see a set of admiral’s stars on your collar. He thought that just making the decisions would never satisfy you. You had to implement them, see the results, face the consequences. Curzon always thought you were the kind of man who had to be in the thick of things – not behind some desk at Headquarters.

Sisko: He was a smart old man, wasn’t he?

The crew of DS9 is preparing for an expected attack by the Jem’Hadar, but it’s not looking good. In every scenario they’ve run, w/in 2 hrs, the station will be taken over my these new baddies. Suddenly, a ship is detected very close to the station- yikes! But no worries- they’re being hailed by Sisko (Avery Brooks)- back after 2 mos. on Earth at Starfleet HQ. We see the Defiant (a prototype of a new class of starships originally designed to fight the Borg) that has a cloaking device (borrowed from the Romulans)! Starfleet and Sisko’s idea is not to wait for the Jem’Hadar to attack, but to go into Dominion’s territory in order to locate the Founders. The time for diplomacy is (probably) over, so the Federation needs to try new tactics.

[A male from a new alien race- the Karemma- comes on board the Defiant]

Ornithar: Our only contact with the Dominion has been through the Vorta. I have no idea who they report to; all I know is that the Vorta say to do something, and you do it.

Sisko: Why?

Ornithar: Because if you do not, they will send in the Jem’Hadar. And then you die.

This is the first time that we hear Sisko talk of his love for Bajor; he and Jake (Cirroc Lofton) now think of DS9 as home. It’s also the first appearance of the Wardroom- where the senior officers meet. Ron Moore (who joined the writing team in S3) explained that the character of Michael Eddington (Ken Marshall) was created to fill in when Colm Meaney was away doing a film. Over the course of S3, the writers decided to expand the character. The Romulans obviously consider the Dominion to be a greater threat than the Federation; on the later seasons of TNG, the Federation had improved relationships w/ their old enemies. T’Rul (Martha Hackett)- the no-nonsense Romulan female- was created to be a recurring character. Producers realized that the character wouldn’t offer enough story material to warrant keeping her around (after these 2 eps); Hackett went on to play a key role on Star Trek: Voyager.

Moore (he started on TNG) and Behr (co-executive producer) have more freedom to innovate (moving away from usual tropes of TOS and TNG). This ep was written by Moore; it was directed by Kim Friedman. Jonathan West came on as Director of Photography (DP); he also went on to direct some eps. The studio model of the Defiant was designed by James Martin and constructed by Tony Meininger, who thought the initial design was a bit too chunky; he took inspiration from Ferraris to streamline the model, giving it a sleeker look in later eps.

Part II

Quark: I have a dream – a dream that one day all people, Human, Jem’Hadar, Ferengi, Cardassians will stand together in peace… around my dabo tables!

Odo (Rene Auberjonois) has finally found his home- a planet in the Omarion nebula. A female shapeshifter (Salome Jens) explains that they were once a race of explorers and were rejected and hunted down by “solids” (humanoids). She encourages him to learn about their ways, so he’ll be ready for their way of bonding (the Great Link). Kira (Nana Visitor) tries to send a message to Sisko, but finds out all outgoing frequencies are blocked by a subterranean device. Of course, she (quietly) investigates further.

Forced to abandon the Defiant during the Jem’Hadar attack a few days ago, Sisko and Bashir (Alexander Siddig) are on a runabout when they’re rescued by Dax (Terry Farrell) and O’Brien (Colm Meaney). They appear to have made contact w/ the Founders and convinced them of their peaceful intentions. In no time, a peace conference is already scheduled and one of the Founders is on DS9. Did that make anyone suspicious (on first viewing)? Sisko starts having doubts when he finds out the Romulans (who we know are a highly advanced/powerful alien race) are excluded from negotiations. Also, Jem’Hadar are given leeway to do whatever they want on the station; they fight w/ Bashir and O’Brien in Quark’s bar.

Odo: Then teach me what I need to know.

Female Shapeshifter: I’ll do what I can. But in the end, this is another journey you’ll have to make on your own. And when it is over, you’ll be ready to take your place in the Great Link.

This ep was written by Behr (who went on to become showrunner) and directed by Jonathan Frakes (who I consider Number One in my heart from TNG). Natalija Nogulich plays Admiral Nechayev for the final time; she appeared on several eps of TNG. Molly Hagan (Eris) wasn’t available to reprise her role of Eris from the S2 finale, so the character of Borath was created. Originally, the Vorta were written to be the god-like Founders of the Dominion; this changed between the S2 finale and S3 (where we see that the Changelings are the Founders). This explains why Eris never acknowledged Odo as a Founder when she came to DS9.

A viewer wrote that the Dominion (which was fleshed out by Robert Hewitt Wolfe) was like a mirror (evil) version of the Federation; the Jem’Hadar are warriors like Klingons, the Vorta are diplomats like Vulcans, and Changelings stay a step ahead like Romulans. The sudden realization that the wormhole hasn’t been destroyed and that none of the events Sisko and the others experienced really happened is a deus ex machina ending. However, rather than a quick resolution, the writers claimed that the point was “it was all a dream” ending. The writers wished to show how powerful the Dominion was- so far advanced in tech that they could play w/ the Federation. Also, they showed that the real story was Odo’s personal journey.

“Star Trek: DS9” – Season 2 (Episode 26: “The Jem’Hadar”)

Quark: Nature decays, but latinum lasts forever. [Rule of Acquisition #102]

Sisko wants to spend more time w/ Jake; he encourages his son to think of a challenging science project. They decide to make a trip to a planet (in the Gamma Quadrant) which is like Earth was in its early stage of development. Jake wants to bring Nog along; his friend needs to better his grade. When Quark hears Nog is coming, he wants to come along also- (LOL). Quark thinks he can change Sisko’s mind re: using the station’s screens for advertising. After some research of the planet’s soil and dinner by the campfire, Jake and Nog go off for a while. Suddenly, an alien woman approaches Sisko and Quark. She shoots Sisko w/ a telepathic weapon and says she’s running from the Jem’Hadar (soldiers of the Dominion). She tells Sisko and Quark to run, but all three are captured!

Nog: I’m telling you, Jake, something’s happened to them. Maybe they were attacked by a wild animal.

Jake Sisko: You heard my dad, there aren’t any wild animals, just insects and plants.

Nog: Maybe they were attacked by a vicious tree.

The alien woman, Eris (Molly Hagan), has a collar which prevents her using her telepathic powers to deactivate the containment field they are held in. Third Talak’talan (leader of the Jem’Hadar group) informs Sisko that the Dominion will no longer tolerate the presence of ships from the other side of the wormhole. He reveals knowledge of the Alpha Quadrant, but refuses to allow Sisko to speak with the Founders (leaders of the Dominion). Eris then claims the Founders are a myth. After some hours, Sisko makes some progress on removing Eris’ collar and gets Quark to pick the lock.

Many viewers have commented on the resemblance of the Jem’Hadar to the Tosk (S1 E5). The original script for this ep notes that the Tosk were created as a gift to the Hunters (as a reward for loyalty to the Dominion). So, the Hunters and Tosk were Dominion members; Robert Hewitt Wolfe confirmed the connection.

Quark: The way I see it, Humans used to be a lot like Ferengi: greedy, acquisitive, interested only in profit. We’re a constant reminder of a part of your past you’d like to forget.

Sisko: Quark, we don’t have time for this.

Quark: You’re overlooking something. Humans used to be a lot worse than the Ferengi: slavery, concentration camps, interstellar wars. We have nothing in our past that approaches that kind of barbarism. You see? We’re nothing like you… we’re better.

It’s up to Jake and Nog to get help and rescue the grown-ups, so they return to the runabout. They aren’t able to beam the captives off the planet or bypass the ship’s autopilot to break orbit. When they finally gain control of the ship, they realize that w/o the autopilot, they’ll have to learn to fly it themselves!

On DS9, a ship quickly flies through the wormhole; Talak’talan materializes in Ops, even though shields are raised. He informs the crew that Sisko is being detained by the Dominion, then transports away. Capt. Keogh (Alan Oppenheimer) and the Federation starship Odyssey arrive to assess the situation and mount a rescue mission. He allows the station’s two remaining runabouts, crewed by Kira, O’Brien, Dax, Odo, and Bashir, to accompany the Odyssey.

Third Talak’talan: A Ferengi, and a human. I was hoping the first race I’d meet from the other side of the anomaly would be the Klingons.

Sisko: I’m sorry to disappoint you.

Quark removes Eris’ collar, allowing her to disengage the force field, and they all escape. O’Brien beams aboard Jake and Nog’s runabout and assumes command, then beams aboard Sisko, Quark, and Eris. The starship arrives at the planet and the Jem’Hadar attack mercilessly. Even when the badly-damaged Odyssey turns to retreat, a Jem’Hadar ship rams the ship and blows it up! This was one of the most surprising moments in ST history. Back at the station, Quark discovers Eris’ collar is a fake; she is a spy for the Dominion! Eris beams out to parts unknown, leaving them w/ a warning of what’s yet to come.

Kira: She’ll be back. The question is who she’ll bring with her.

Sisko: If the Dominion comes through the Wormhole, the first battle will be fought here. And I intend to be ready for them.

This exciting ep is the S2 finale of DS9 and features the first appearance of two new alien races (the Jem’Hadar and the Vorta). The new villains are scary, arrogant, powerful, and have contempt for the Federation. Most of all- they don’t play fair. The Odyssey is a Galaxy-class ship (so it looks exactly like The Enterprise); to a regular viewer of TNG, seeing it destroyed could be very shocking! The “kids” (Ira Stephen Behr; Ronald D. Moore) have freedom from the “parents” (Rick Berman; Michael Piller) now. This is the start of the producers’ strategy of leaving the audience in suspense and building on events in previous seasons. This led DS9 to take on a serial-like feel, unlike the episodic feel of TOS and TNG.

“Star Trek: DS9” – Season 2 (Episodes 22-25)

Episode 22: The Wire

Garak (Andrew Robinson) and Bashir (Alexander Siddig) are waiting in line at the mess hall, when suddenly, Garak gets an intense headache. An exam reveals an implant in his brain, which was put there years ago to prevent him from giving away secrets while being interrogated. Garak’s time may be running out; Bashir looks for a way to save his friend’s life.

Garak: Has it ever occurred to you that I might be getting exactly what I deserve?

Bashir: No one deserves this.

Garak: Oh, please, Doctor. I’m suffering enough without having to listen to your smug Federation sympathy. And you think that because we have lunch together once a week you know me? You couldn’t even begin to fathom what I’m capable of.

Bashir: I am a doctor. You’re my patient. That’s all I need to know.

The teleplay was written/edited by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, who came over from TNG. It’s the first DS9 ep to be directed by a woman (Kim Friedman); producers brought her back for several crucial eps. This is the first time that Cardassia Prime is mentioned and also the first mention of the secretive group- the Obsidian Order. Garak admits that he was involved with the Order then explains how he came to be exiled. Each story is different.

Garak can be likeable and sympathetic, yet also pathetic and even aggressive (when suffering from withdrawal). When Bashir goes to see the former head of the Order, Enabran Tain (veteran actor Paul Dooley), he hears yet another story. Tain was grooming Garak to be his successor, but Garak was banished from Cardassian society for not murdering Bajoran children! Bashir gets the info that will save Garak, but only b/c Tain wants him to live long… and suffer.

Bashir: What I want to know is, out of all the stories you told me, which ones were true and which ones weren’t?

Garak: My dear Doctor, they’re all true.

Bashir: Even the lies?

Elim Garak: Especially the lies.

Episode 23: Crossover

Kira (Nana Visitor) and Bashir are returning from the opening of a hospital on New Bajor (the first Bajoran colony in the Gamma Quadrant). Just as they to enter the wormhole, a sudden problem arises. Kira is able to solve it, but when they arrive in the Alpha Quadrant, things have changed. DS9 is now orbiting Bajor and the runabout is entered by Klingons, who apologize when they see Kira. This is an alternate universe! In the opening teaser, the wormhole opens upside down. Klingons, Cardassians and Bajorans have formed an alliance against Earth; humans (“Terrans”) are forced to process ore. The station is led by Intendant Kira; she speaks of Kirk who traveled from the other side years ago. While Bashir is sent to labor away, Intendant Kira wants to know her other self.

Intendant Kira: You don’t trust me.

Major Kira: I’m… a little afraid of you.

Intendant Kira: Then you fear yourself. I don’t want your fear; I want your love. If you can’t love me, who can?

The teleplay was written by veterans of TNG (Wolfe; Peter Allan Fields), as well as Piller (EP). Wolfe wrote the fall of the Terran Empire as an analogy for the fall of the Roman Empire to barbarians and the Chinese Dynasty to the Mongols. He wanted to illustrate that if an Empire is as brutal as the Terran Empire was in TOS (Mirror, Mirror), there were probably reasons why it was so brutal. Wolfe wanted to convey that one cannot change things overnight, and even the actions of Capt. Kirk can have serious consequences. This episode is listed as being one of the “Ten Essential Episodes” of DS9 in Star Trek 101 by Terry J. Erdmann and Paula M. Block.

Sisko: What do you care about Terrans’ freedom?

Kira: I care about freedom! What I don’t understand is why you *don’t* care. Why the only one on this station I have met who seemed to give a damn was a Ferengi toad named Quark!

Sisko: You’re looking in the wrong place for a hero, ma’am. I’ve made the best of a bad life for my crew. That’s my contribution.

Kira: Yes – you charmed your way out of the mines. But you and I both know, you’re no less a victim than anyone else here.

Much has been said by critics/fans of the tight/leather outfit Intendent Kira wears. One podcast host called it “a G-rated version of what a dominatrix would wear” – LOL! Blackman (costume designer on various ST shows) credited the outfit for giving Visitor a more alluring image. For the milk bath scene, the crew made sure that the bath was nice and hot for Visitor; they put a few drops of orange oil on it, so the water had a nice smell and would soften her skin. During rehearsals, she felt the cones hiding her nudity started to pop off! When she asked her makeup artist what takes the glue off, it turned out to be the orange oil.

Smiley O’Brien: [referring to Bashir] This man… this man… is a doctor where he comes from. And there’s an O’Brien there just like me. Except he’s some kind of… high up Chief of Operations. And they’re Terrans. Can you believe that? Maybe it’s a fairy tale he made up, but… it started me thinking, how… how each of us might’ve turned out, if history had been just a little different.

Mirror Odo’s uniform has a belt, which Rene Auberjonois liked so much that he began using it in for his regular Odo uniform in S3. Odo doesn’t like weapons, but Mirror Odo carries a Bajoran phaser pistol. O’Brien isn’t a family man in this world; also Jake doesn’t appear. In the mirror universe, Quark tells Garak he is “a simple bartender” when accused of illegal acts; this is a joke based on Garak’s common saying that he’s only “a simple tailor.” Quark is not as flamboyant or confident in the mirror universe.

Viewers have pointed out that Kira plays an evil commander of Terok Nor, which is the same role that Gul Dukat had. Also, the mirror Kira’s personality is the same as Dukat, as she blames those under her for being too harsh. She tries to seduce others to get what she wants and plays political games to get an advantage, just as Dukat did in the series.

[1] This was a fun episode… Nana Visitor did a good job as the two very different versions of Kira however I think Avery Brooks is much better as the serious Commander Sisko than here where he seemed rather hammy laughing…

[2] Too often the Trek shows are extremely nice and astoundingly perfect–often TOO perfect. With episodes like this one and the Maquis, you finally see a different sort of future–a dark, twisted and darkly funny one. Well worth seeing, though the original episode is a touch better.

[3] …the Klingons have not changed in the Mirror universe at all. In relation to character they remain essentially the same as Klingons have throughout the franchise.

Although Garak acts ruthless in contrast to his normal character on DS9, the Cardassians have not changed in the Mirror universe as one can detect… their use of torture during prisoner interrogations has been well documented in multiple episodes.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

Episode 24: The Collaborator

The election day for Kai (main spiritual leader of Bajor) is approaching and both Vedek Bareil (Philip Anglim) and Vedek Winn (Louise Fletcher) are on DS9. Bareil is esp. interested in Kira’s vote, but Winn has a different agenda. She’s awaiting the arrival of secretary Kubus Oak, who was liaison between the Cardassians and the Bajoran government during the occupation. Kubus fled to Cardassia afterwards. Kira and Odo want to make sure he gets a proper trial; Winn wants to leave the station w/ him. There was a Prylar Bek (another Bajoran collaborator) who hanged himself after allegedly giving up the location of a rebel base. Winn claims that Kubus gave her the name of the person really responsible for the massacre: Bareil!

This was the final ep of DS9 to air during the run of TNG. This ep was written by Behr, Wolfe, and (regular staff writer) Gary Holland. It turned out that Holland was surprised by how Odo reacted to finding out that Kira was in love w/ Bareil (as he hadn’t written the scene that way)! It’s a subtle reaction which some viewers may’ve missed. The (obvious) tension between Winn and the crew of DS9 harkens back to Winn’s attempt to stop Keiko teaching secular science. Winn coerced a young engineer to try to kill Bareil. However, there was no evidence to prove her involvement. According to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, there are Watergate parallels here: Quark helps Kira bypass the security lockouts and the Prylar Bek character (based on John Dean).

Episode 25: Tribunal

O’Brien (Colm Meaney) is preparing for a vacation w/ Keiko (Rosalind Chao), but has a hard time leaving work to others. As he is leaving DS9, runs into an old friend, Raymond Boone, who he served w/ on the Rutledge. Boone left Starfleet 8 yrs ago and moved to a colony on the Cardassian side of the Demilitarized Zone. O’Brien leaves with his wife in a runabout; a ship suddenly approaches and he is arrested by the Cardassians! They refuse to tell him what crime he is accused of and transport him to undergo a trial. After he is processed, a Juror (judge)- Archon Makbar- makes it clear his guilt is already established and the trial is a formality. Odo (an officer of the court) gets himself on O’Brien’s defense team as Nestor (representative). The crew on the station do their best to come up w/ info to free O’Brien.

Kovat: Once again, justice will be done. Our lives will be reaffirmed, safe and secure. Here on Cardassia, all crimes are solved, all criminals are punished, all endings are happy. Even the poorest of our subjects can walk the streets in the dead of night in perfect safety. You’re only one man; but your conviction will be a salutary experience for millions.

This ep was written by Bill Dial, who also wrote S2 E12: The Alternate; it was directed by Brooks (the first cast member to direct). Production designer Herman F. Zimmerman took inspiration in the set design from George Orwell’s 1948 book Nineteen Eighty-Four. Zimmerman explains: “Spartan, uncompromising and merciless are all adjectives that you could use to describe Cardassia.” Robert Stromberg of Illusion Arts, Inc. created the matte painting of the city on Cardassia Prime; he went on to win Oscars for art direction on Avatar (2009) and Alice in Wonderland (2010). If you watch Law & Order (or other courtroom shows) and don’t mind dark humor, then you’ll like this story.

O’Brien: I’ve been in service to the Federation – Starfleet – all my adult life. No one has ever questioned my loyalty. No one in my entire life has ever had cause to ask “Miles O’Brien, are you a criminal?” I took an oath to defend the Federation, and what it stands for…

[1] Good keeps getting better; evil stays the same. Any era, any generation can appreciate the truth in this episode. Fantastic exploration of authoritarianism, justice, and the human journey. Season 2 really ratcheted up the writing and direction of the actors.

[2] This episode has a couple nice guest stars. The best is Fritz Weaver as a defender. With defense attorneys like him, you cannot help but laugh… He is hilariously inept, cowardly and worthless- and funny, In fact, I think he’s the best thing about this show! Additionally, John Beck (Moonpie from the original “Rollerball”) is on hand as a secret agent working for the cause of injustice. Well worth seeing, as well as dark and foreboding.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews