Welcome to the new year and what a way to start the year with the first episode of the penultimate season of Voyager. I mean, we literally only have this and one more season left until we dive back in time to well before Kirk and the rest of the gang. I’m getting ahead of myself though. Let’s stay in the Delta Quadrant a little longer shall we?
It’s Janeway vs Ransom when The Captain of the Equinox leaves Voyager for dead. Originally broadcast on September 22, 1999, this is the season premiere of season Six, Equinox Part II.
Captain’s Log Stardate undetermined: Equinox Part II
Voyager hunts down the USS Equinox in revenge for Captain Ransom’s traitorous actions leading Janeway to go to the extremes leading Chakotay to be relived of duty.
After surviving the attack by the alien attackers and the Equinox’s betrayal, Janeway recovers the Doctors mobile Emitter not realizing that this is not her Doctor. Reactivating him, she gives him the body of one of the aliens to study while asking him to treat the wounded officers. Soon Chakotay and Janeway begin debating what their next steps should be but are interrupted by yet another attack.
As the ‘Evil’ Doctor treats patients on Voyager, Ransom attempts to convince Seven to join him but to no avail. After being sent to sickbay, she soon discovers that the Doctor is from Voyager and it is up to them to stop Ransom and his crew. Just as the ship is about to go into warp, it stalls and Ransom discovers that Seven has sabotaged his engines preventing the ship from using the alien bodies as fuel. Determined to get his answers he alters Voyagers Doctor by deleting his ethical subroutines so that he will extract the information from Seven forcibly.
Voyager continues to try to find a defense against the aliens while Janeway begins plotting her revenge against Ransom. Convinced that she is on the warpath, Chakotay warns her that she needs to focus on Voyager first but Janeway refuses to listen, citing that Ransom has betrayed everything Star Fleet stands for and MUST be stopped at all costs.
As the Doctor begins to extract information from Seven, despite hating that he is doing so, Janeway manages to catch up to the Equinox who has been hiding in a planets atmosphere initiating repairs. After a brief battle, Janeway realizes that they will not withstand a fight with the Equinox as long as the aliens are a threat. She captures and interrogates Lessing but, when she gets nowhere with he she decides to torture him using the aliens by lowering the shields in his room so the aliens can get to him. Chakotay rescues the frightened man after being unable to convince Janeway to stop and gets Lessing to give them the information they wanted about the Ankari and the aliens.
Learning that there is an Ankari vessel nearby, Janeway orders the ship to track it down. Chakotay argues that her methods are getting dangerous and that she is close to becoming the thing she is chasing but Janeway refuses to listen, relieving him of his duties.
Chasing down the Ankari, Janeway captures the ship and convinces it’s captain to help them communicate with the Aliens. The Aliens demand that the Equinox be destroyed and Janeway proposes that if the aliens stop their attacks on Voyager, she will hand the Equinox over to them. Tuvok objects but is immediately struck down with a threat by Janeway to release him as well. The aliens accept and Voyager begins their pursuit once again.
On the Equinox, Ransom needs to find more aliens to use as fuel and soon finds that The Doctor is almost done getting information from Seven. Taking a reprieve in a Synaptic Simulator, Ransom is shocked to find a nucleogenic lifeform in the form of Seven of Nine demanding that they find another way home. He soon learns that Voyager has found them.
The battle commences between the ships with The Doctor and the Evil Doctor both doing what they can to help their friends. Soon Burke launches a mutiny against Ransom and, with their ship in danger, Ransom contacts Voyager to surrender. Burke refuses to surrender but several of his crew beam to Voyager along with the Real Doctor and Seven. The Doctor deletes the evil Doctor after getting his ethical subroutines restored. Seven promises to help The Doctor establish safeguards in the future to prevent them from being removed again.
Soon the Equinox’s warp core is attacked by the aliens and Janeway is unable to save Ransom who wishes to go down with his ship and face his punishment. Janeway is able to rescue some of the Equinox’s crew just before the other ship explodes. Janeway informs the five new crewmembers that they will have to prove themselves on her ship by starting at the bottom once again. Stripping them of their rank she sends them off with Tuvok.
Meeting with Chakotay, Janeway makes up with her first officer and they head back on course, ready for whatever comes after them.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
While I really enjoyed this basis for this story, it’s filled with issues as well as yet another great example of a lost opportunity for this series. I understand the need to Destroy the Equinox and Captain Ransom along with it but, seeing that this is the only other Federation ship it seems a great loss for everyone. To me, it would have been much more impactful if this two parter had been more of a plot for season six with the crew becoming split among the two ships having to find a way to get back together somehow. I know such a thing is possible as much of the final season of DS9 involved the crewmembers in several locations and, while I know this is likely a logistical nightmare for the show itself, it would have been a great way to really setup this season as something new. In fact, this would be the first season of Voyager being the only Trek series on television so what a better time for it to take a dramatic shift?
Unfortunately this was not the case and, while Voyager does manage to pick up a few extra crew members, nothing really changes because of this episode. It’s literally just another adventure for Voyager where they face a threat and move on as Janeway breaks the rules with others trying to convince her she is wrong. That, is where I have the biggest problem with the episode.
Janeway goes full Captain Ahab in this one with Ransom as her white whale making a turn that really doesn’t make much sense. In fact, this is coming from the Janeway who has been adamant about ‘being Starfleet’ for much of the fifth season. She even goes as far as to ignore Chakotay’s advice, something she has come to trust and appreciate more and more, while even going as far as to torture a member of the Equinox crew for information. This Janeway is more akin to a Mirror-Universe version than the Voyager version and it really just doesn’t fit with her character. Hell, she demoted Paris for less of an offense, I mean, I get having a bad day but seriously, this was just absolutely irresponsible and frankly criminal. I am not even going to get started on her kidnapping of the Ankari ship…
Then there is The Doctor and his Ethical subroutines. Seriously, this was just dumb and a complete waste of Robert Picardo plus, haven’t we already done the ‘Evil Doctor’ story in a much better way? That aside, Picardo is a phenomenal actor and having an ‘Evil’ EMH on Voyager with a ‘good’ one on the Equinox was such a prime opportunity for his character but all we got was a spy from the bad Doctor and the good Doctor being compromised. No big ethical dilemma, no attempts at subterfuge, just hey lets delete this good Doctor’s ethics and just make him do what we want. Sure we get a little more relationship established between The Doctor and Seven but still, it was a completely wasted story segment with some really creepy moments of The Doctor forcing Seven to sing. This entire subplot could have been eliminated with no loss to the overall story, heck it would have allowed for the episode to be much more streamlined and condensed. That or, if they drew the story out over the course of several more episodes, but no, lets just jam in some random events that were setup in the first part with no real resolution in mind.
Bottom line, this was a horribly rushed two parter that really could have been so much more. Not a great start to the season, just, meh.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 0 photon torpedoes fired, -14 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -4 remaining
- Oh, and those crewmen that Voyager brings aboard…we never see them again, not even a mention. So yeah. That sucks.
- We are introduced to Synaptic Holographic technology. Basically simple VR piped directly to your brain.
- When Voyager was beaming people aboard, could they not have also beamed aboard supplies? I mean, they kinda need some stuff right?
- Chakotay admits he considered taking over the ship but decided against it. Foreshadowing or just poor writing, you decide.
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: Survival Instinct
As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these episodes as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow me if you like the blog!
Late To The Game 1/1/2021
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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