Janeway and a group of underperforming crewmembers take the Delta Flyer out for a spin, basically The ‘Lower Decks’ episode for Voyager. Originally broadcast on March 15, 2000 this is Good Shepherd.
Captain’s Log Stardate 53753.2 Good Shepherd
Captain Janeway takes a group of low-ranking crewmembers on a journey to help encourage them to find their place on the ship.
This recap is a really simple one because man this is an involved episode that would take forever to recap properly. So to give it to you in the simplest form….
After Seven of nine presents her ships efficiency report to the senior staff, Janeway discovers a group of low-ranking crewmembers who need some encouragement. Since Voyager is passing Class-T cluster, the Captain takes the opportunity to bring these wayward officers on a trip with her to help ‘guide’ them. After running intro issues, including a species of Dark Matter aliens, Janeway and her small team return to Voyager with some inspired young officers with a tale to tell.
Is this a ‘Good’ Episode:
Despite the rather abrupt recap, this is actually a really solid Janeway-centric episode while also giving us a peek into some of the crew-members we haven’t seen but have been vital to the ships functions. Much like the STNG episode Lower Decks, and it’s animated namesake, this episode focuses on the underdogs, the one’s that, as Janeway puts it ‘have slipped through the cracks’ and boy does it deliver. Janeway has been a solid Captain but, with everything that has been going on in the past six years it is not surprising that she has not had a chance to get to know everyone on board personally. I mean, even under good circumstances that would be a hard thing to do but the fact that Janeway is willing to try says a lot about her character. Janeway cares and that in and of itself is something not many ships can claim about their Commanding Officer.
The adventure itself is a fun one that would be a pretty generic adventure had a group of senior officers attended the mission, but with a vastly inexperienced crew, Janeway certainly gets her hands full with Crewmen Mortimer Harren, William Telfer and Tal Celes. Each member of this rag tag crew are not the most adept at their jobs but, after the Delta Flyer is damaged and the ship is under threat, they find a way to pull together in a way that Janeway knew they could. What I love about these characters is that this story shows that not everyone aboard a ship joins Starfleet with the intent to ‘explore the galaxy’ or even to serve on a ship. We see that people who graduate from Star Fleet Academy aren’t always the best of the best despite what others may assume. Many of them are just average people who are looking for something bigger than themselves.
While we really never see these Crewmen again on the series, with the exception of Tal Celes, this episode is a nice departure from the typical ‘ship in danger’ adventure that affects the entire ship on a regular basis. It’s a fun and intense story that really showcases Janeway and her determination to ensure her crew not only get’s home, but they also realize that they are part of a family and each of them are valuable in their own unique ways.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
- 1 photon torpedoes fired, -17 remaining.
- 0 shuttlecraft lost or destroyed, -4 remaining
- Chakotay recommends simply letting these underperforming officers do their own thing which makes no sense seeing that they have a pretty limited crew. What was he thinking?
- You may recognize the actor playing Mortimer Harren. Jay Underwood was a mainstay in the 80’s and 90’s appearing in films such as The Boy Who Could Fly as well as the tremendous Not Quite Human series where he played Chip, an android not unlike Commander Data himself. When he appeared on this episode I was excited that he might become a Star Trek regular…sadly that was not to be so.
- We never see nor hear from the Dark Matter beings 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: Live Fast and Prosper
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Late To The Game 2/15/2021
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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