It’s an exploration of the past when Janeway discovers her ancestor is not quite who she believed her to be. Originally airing on May 5, 1999 this is 11:59.
Captain’s Log Stardate all over the place. 11:59
Janeway learns the truth about an ancestor she admired and questions her own journey in the process.
Neelix is learning about landmarks on Earth and, when Janeway brings up a structure called the Millennium Gate, he is fascinated to learn that one of Janeway’s ancestors was involved in it’s construction. Soon she begins regaling him with the tale of Shannon O’Donnell. We get a flashback to Shannon O’Donnell where we discover that the story Janeway knows, isn’t quite the story of what actually occurred.
The rest of the episode consists of flashbacks to Janeway’s ancestor and the Captain’s discovery of the truth behind the legends she has been told. In the end she comes to terms with the difference between a legend and reality and how such things can inspire the future.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
While this is not a typical Voyager Episode, it is a really solid story that sort of serves as a fun ‘down time’ tale that gives us an idea of what kind of things happen on board between their battles with the Borg and their continuous violations of the Prime Directive.
While it is really interesting to get a glimpse of the past in Star Trek’s future, especially a contemporary story that takes place in an alternate history not long after the episode itself aired, there are some issues I have with the episode itself. Specifically one of a data quandary.
There is a moment where Neelix requests that the computer include non-federation databases in his research….but how is that possible if they can not contact the Alpha Quadrant or any other databases? In fact, just how much data do they load on these ships? Is it standard practice to just lead every single historical record on every ship no matter how minute, including databases from every single culture even non-federation races? I can just see the programmers at Utopia Planitia now,
Tech 1: ‘Hey do you think they need to know about the drinking habits of these folks in Utah in the late 20th century?’
Tech 2: ‘ dude, we better not leave that out, some Captain may need that information to save some rando alien race. I mean, you remember how much trouble Kirk got into, we can’t leave anything out! You better include the Ferengi Databases too, I mean, we gotta be thorough.’
That being said, this episode does a great job showcasing Kate Mulgrew in dual roles as both Captain Janeway and her ancestor Shannon O’Donnell. Not only that, it also gives a great backstory to Janeway and what drove her to join Star Fleet in the first place, even though she soon discovers her inspiration wasn’t exactly who she believed she was. We also get a chance to hear about some of the other crew-members relatives from Paris’ connection to the early Mars program to Kim’s ancestors who were early explorers. If anything, this episode shows us how deep the desire to explore goes in the various crew-members of the ships and stations we have come to know and love. It is not only a desire to see more of the universe but it is in fact, in their blood.
Bottom line, It’s not a bad episode, just one for people who are REALLY into the series. For a casual fan or someone who has never seen any Voyager before, they might find this one pretty boring.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, -14 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -4 remaining
- Janeway claims that Shannon O’Donnel was one of the first female astronauts but as this tale takes place in 2000 that is not accurate as there had already been 36 women who had been in space.
- The episode established April 22 as Ancestor’s Eve….an event we never hear about again.
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: Relativity
For more reviews: check out the weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and for more retro TV goodness check out the rest of the Retro TV Reviews here.
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Late To The Game 12/23/2020
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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