Voyager faces destruction and no one can stop it in the episode that originally aired on March 3, 1999 this is Course: Oblivion.
Captain’s Log Stardate 52586.3 Course: Oblivion
Things are going too well for Voyager so, of course, it doesn’t last as the ship and crew begin to deteriorate without any clue as to why.
Tom Paris and B’Elanna Torres are married in a grand ceremony held by Janeway. While the festivities commence, unknown to the crew, the structure of the ship begins to melt.
Events aboard the ship are going exceedingly well as Tom and B’Elanna plan their honeymoon and Seven prepares to take over Engineering while they’re are ‘away’. Soon however, it is discovered that there is a strange phenomena that is causing the ship to lose molecular cohesion. It get’s worse when Torres finds blotches appearing on her face and becomes sick. Reporting to sickbay she and Paris discover that more crew have been affected and it is getting worse. B’Elanna dies and there is nothing that can be done to save her.
They soon discover that the disease if affecting everything on Voyager with the exception of anything brought on the ship in the last few months tracking it down to their encounter with the demon planet and the Silver Blood. Testing B’Elanna’s body Chakotay and Tuvok realize that they are all duplicates of the original Voyager crew and they must find a Y class planet in hopes to revive themselves. Chakotay asks that Janeway turn the ship around and return to their planet but she refuses believing she can save them without going back. This is soon proven wrong when the only Y class planet is being protected by a mining operation that threatens to destroy their ship. With no other options, and after Chakotay dies as well, Janeway orders the disintegrating ship to return home.
With only a few of the crew remaining, Janeway instructs them to create a time capsule out of the items that are not affected in hopes to leave information behind for someone else. She soon dies leaving Harry Kim in command. Soon he, Seven and Neelix try to launch the time capsule but it is destroyed in the process destroying all evidence they had ever existed. They soon detect the real Voyager 22 light years away and send a distress call. The warp core soon goes critical and the ship begins to tear apart.
The original Voyager arrives having detected the distress call but only find remnants of matter. Janeway makes a log and Voyager heads on with no idea that they have found the remains of their own ship floating in space.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Normally I hate the ‘this was all a dream’ or ‘this never happened’ style episodes but this one was done exceedingly well. The first time I saw this episode it was rather surprising that Tom and B’Elanna were tying the knot so soon but I was like, okay, this works. Then, of course, things begin getting strange and when B’Elanna dies I was sure this had to be something else. For the writers to tie this back to the Episode Demon in such an unexpected way is not only genius but really shows just how much they have paid attention to the events of the series so far. The cool thing is, there are subtle hints from the beginning that this is not ‘our’ Voyager, including the fact that Paris is still a Lieutenant and the mention of aliens/encounters we never experienced. Even the rather sudden marriage of Torres and Paris is a giant tell which is very easily overlooked.
The brilliant thing about all of this is that, even after we learn that this is the ‘Silver Blood’ Crew, we still find ourselves rooting for them to make it. Somehow this duplicate Voyager HAS to make it back to it’s own planet much like the real Voyager must make it back to Earth. The fact that they themselves fail and are found in pieces by Voyager itself is almost a dark foreshadowing of what may come, putting into the viewers minds that our intrepid crew may not actually make it back home intact. I do find it interesting that the Silver Blood beings copied the crew so accurately that they forgot they were not the ‘real’ crew. I have to wonder if any of the duplicate crew remained behind on the Demon Planet and what became of them if they did.
The sad thing is, know that the writers pay this much attention to past episodes shows me that this show does have so much untapped potential. I have said this numerous times and I am sure it will come up again but it seems that many of the stories miss so many obvious chances to be great and only end up being good. This is not one of those but we will see this more and more the closer we get to the end of their voyage in the Delta Quadrant.
Overall, I love this episode and really appreciate how the writers felt free to play with the universe. This is the kind of clever science fiction that I love to see come from Star Trek and sadly do not get to see as often as I would like. Sometimes it’s okay to play with the universe you are in as long as you do it well. Course Oblivion does it very well.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired,-10 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -4 remaining
- Duplicate Janeway mentions that they found a way to reach Earth in two years time, interestingly that is almost exactly how long the series itself had left ending after seven seasons.
- This is the second episode depicting a crew that is not the actual crew-members of Voyager, the first one being holographic versions in the future.
- Even Duplicate Janeway is determined to get back to Earth even if it means their death.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: The Fight
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Late To The Game 12/11/2020
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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