Star Trek: Voyager: The Void   Rewatch 
July 5, 2018 4:08 AM - Season 7, Episode 15 - Subscribe

Voyager is trapped in a pocket of space from which escape seems impossible. And when the crew gazes long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into them.

Memory Alpha will not go gentle into that good…uh, void:

- When Captain Janeway and Commander Chakotay are saying that the Alliance was almost like being part of the Federation again, the original series theme is heard playing in the background.

- During the musical conversation between Fantome and the other members of his species several musical phrases can be heard from Star Trek series' opening theme music.

- Jonathan Del Arco previously played Hugh in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes "I Borg" and "Descent, Part II".

- Voyager had previously been stuck in a starless void in "Night" [FanFare thread --ed.].

- This episode contains several links to the television show Babylon 5:

- - Guest star Robin Sachs (General Valen) has played a Minbari and two Narn characters on Babylon 5.
- - In Babylon 5, Valen is the name of a holy figure among the Minbari.
- - Episode director Mike Vejar has also directed many Babylon 5 episodes.
- - The second ship that attacks Voyager after they first enter the void and steals their supplies has a design reminiscent of the White Star class ship from Babylon 5.

"Each course has been paired with a specific wine. Substitutions are not recommended."

- Seven of Nine

"The vultures are circling."
"Vultures eat the dead, Mister Paris. We're not dead yet."

- Paris and Janeway

"It was almost like being part of a Federation again."
"The real one's only 30,000 light years away."
"Then what are we standing around for?"

- Janeway and Chakotay on the success of their alliance (last lines)

Poster's Log:
After the last two "ambitious" stories, it's nice to be able to enjoy a not-very-ambitious-at-all story. The main risk they seem to have taken here is having so much different business all in one hour (and in reviewing the "Night" thread, looks like I made the same remark there, too!), but here I liked the balance overall—combining Federationy philosophizing, tense negotiation, and starship action with the interesting sci-fi concept of Fantome's species was some pretty effective narrative plate-spinning. And as is often the case with VOY, it helped keep the pace rapid and engaging. Looking back on the previous seasons, I feel like there were lots of episodes that this feels slightly derivative of, yet more effective than. So maybe not so much a "derivation" of those episodes as a "refinement," to put it in forgiving terms.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
Good guest stars here again, too; we might also remember Robin Sachs from Buffy, where he played Ethan Rayne—and apparently he auditioned for the role of Sisko!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (3 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There were definitely a lot of callbacks: the relentless scavengers/pirates (the Kazon and Vidiians), the ad hoc alliance ("Year of Hell"), the temptation to chuck Federation and Starfleet rules and ethics ("Equinox"), and, one more callback to "Night", the mysterious race that was uniquely adapted to that environment. We even got the Potato People back! (And their techno-voyeurism got put to good use, for once.) But it all worked well together, maybe because they have been down these roads before; I think that some of Janeway's vehemence in sticking to principles (including refusing to use the stolen polaron emitter, even though, hey, why waste it...) may have come from lingering guilt over her own Jack Bauer moment. I'm going to go back and see if I can catch some of those other Trek show themes in Fantome's people's beep-booping.

Also, I tend to think of Robin Sachs in two particular roles: the villain Sarris in Galaxy Quest, and Zaeed Massani in Mass Effect 2 and 3. Zaeed was the stereotypically crusty old mercenary, who explained how he survived getting shot in the head by noting that "rage is a hell of an anesthetic", and waxes nostalgic over Jessie, a "shitty old rifle" that he tries to keep in functioning order.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:33 AM on July 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

Particle of the Week: Probably fairest to give it to gravitons.
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: While most of the MMO is your classic video game murderhobo exercise, Star Trek Online does focus on alliance building at numerous points in the metaplot. One of the first instances has a player rescuing space pirates from Orions, and getting access to a distress beacon that will summon them to help you in fights later on.

Polaron modulators are also pretty common in the MMO, being a device that increases polaron weapon damage. (Jem'Hadar characters start with a whole bunch of them.)

Ongoing Counts:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -21.
* Crew: 137.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 15. This was another week I should've had a Credulity Straining Delta Quadrant Contact count though - there's no indication the Hierarchy had robust transwarp capabilities. The Vaadwaur did, but were also on the brink of extinction, so it's a little weird to see them anywhere.
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 2 games of chicken, 1 ramming speed.

* It's That Guy!

Ethan Rayne was my favorite character on Buffy, bar none. I recognized Robin Sachs from his voice, although he was definitely going for more of a Narn thing here. (I was also sad to see he's been dead from some years when I went to go peek at his imdb page.)

* Another reuse of the Maquis raider model.

It's no big deal, just a little quick on the heels of Nightingale.

* This was, dare I say, pretty good?

I liked the balance overall—combining Federationy philosophizing, tense negotiation, and starship action with the interesting sci-fi concept of Fantome's species was some pretty effective narrative plate-spinning. And as is often the case with VOY, it helped keep the pace rapid and engaging.

Yeah. This was another glimpse of the show I actually wanted: they explored a weird space widget, they were victorious through understanding and diplomacy, and there were still some space fights. The horrifying bigots were the bad guys. Sticking to principles is not painted as a foolish choice, but a hard one with long term benefits over short term gain.

Really, my only dismay about this story is that this should've been Voyager's routine for the past six plus years - making alliances, going places with ad hoc coalitions, spreading Federation values via example. It's a shame we didn't see more of this.

Good job this time, Voyager.
posted by mordax at 9:16 AM on July 5, 2018 [3 favorites]

Solid episode. BUT... How did Phantome's (Fantome?) species evolve in an isolated area of space devoid of matter? And shouldn't there have been, I don't know, potentially thousands (or more) of old dead ships in the void? If there was a vast ecosystem made out of derelict ships that have been in the void for thousands upon thousands of years, that could have explained how they evolved, maybe from little bits of DNA from all the different species that got trapped there. Anyway, minor point.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:33 PM on November 26, 2021

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