Star Trek: Voyager: Endgame   Rewatch 
August 6, 2018 6:32 AM - Season 7, Episode 25 - Subscribe

[Series finale] As our starship and its crew near the end of their voyage, we're at the end of the season, the series, and our rewatch. And, at the end of it all... a plate of beans the size of the Delta Quadrant.

Memory Alpha reminds you that all good things must come to an end, and all that you take with you is what you leave behind:

- To prepare for the conclusion of Star Trek: Voyager, Executive Producers Rick Berman and Kenneth Biller started thinking about the finale right from the seventh season's beginning, as they knew it would be the series' last season. The episode was "based on a story that Rick Berman and I and our old pal Brannon Braga cooked up. Rick and I have been talking about the finale through the whole season, and we brought Brannon in to consult and he was extremely helpful. The three of us cooked up this story in meetings." After seven long years, this episode represented, finally, an opportunity to establish whether Captain Janeway and her crew would return home after being stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Berman later stated, "There was a lot of thought that went into, 'Are we going to bring these people home or not?' and 'Who is going to live and who is going to die?'" There was never any doubt of whether they'd return to the Alpha Quadrant by the end of the show's run; still to be considered was how and when they would make the return trip, as opposed to if they would manage it. From the very start of the season, the writing staff and everyone else involved with the series hence contemplated how and when the ship might ultimately reach home. As regards this dilemma, the writing staffers wondered how to both satisfy and excite the audience while also surprising the viewers.

- One of the primary goals in crafting this episode's plot was to create a story which would be "epic" in scope. In fact, the installment's writers wanted it to at least match, if not exceed, the quality of previous Star Trek series enders. "I think we had some big shoes to fill," related Rick Berman. "If you look at the final episodes of ST:TNG and ST:DS9, they have a certain sweeping heroic quality to them. I think they focused not only on our characters, but also on an action/adventure story on the grander Human scale. We wanted the same thing to be true of the last episode of Voyager." The writers not only attempted to make this a very ambitious, epic adventure but also a summation of the series at large. Brannon Braga offered, "What we've tried to do is create an episode that taps into the core emotions that have been at play since the first episode, in terms of the crew getting home and what it means to them, how they might do it or not. We knew that we wanted a really great villain involved. We had to make sure it had scope. We've worked on a couple of these series finales now, so we kind of know the ingredients we want to put in there." Despite that, Ken Biller conceded, "No matter what story we chose, it would be hard [to avoid it resonating with the events of the series' pilot episode, 'Caretaker']. We always knew there were different directions to take."

- For the antagonist in this episode, the writers definitely had one particular group in mind. "We always knew that the Borg would have something to do with it," Ken Biller recalled, "because they've been Voyager's nemesis throughout the series and we figured they should figure a role in the finale."

- [As far as I'm aware, the only actor in the main cast, and the only character, to be seen in future installments of Trek is Kate Mulgrew as Janeway (now an admiral) in Star Trek: Nemesis.]

"I think it's safe to say no one on this crew has been more… obsessed with getting home than I have. But when I think about everything we've been through together, maybe it's not the destination that matters. Maybe it's the journey, and if that journey takes a little longer, so we can do something we all believe in, I can't think of any place I'd rather be, or any people I'd rather be with."

- Harry Kim, to the Voyager senior staff

"I decided I couldn't get married without a name."
"It took you 33 years to come up with Joe?!"

- Tom Paris to The Doctor, regarding the name he chose for himself

Poster's Log:

Fair warning given, this will be pretty long. I'll cut to the chase and say that, despite appreciating some elements of this episode more on the rewatch, I was still disappointed, both in terms of the story itself and in its implications for the Star Trek universe, or lack thereof. And, by the Prophets, I will go into much detail on that.

But first, acknowledgements are due. CheesesOfBrazil, who was also my co-poster during the latter part of the DS9 rewatch, and who was generous in helping me fit the postings to my schedule, including letting me do the last post. And, of course, mordax, aka the Third Poster, who not only kept track of some of the more irregular bits of continuity for every episode and also noted continuity points between this series and Star Trek Online, but also provided thoughtful commentary and perspective that changed my mind about some of the episodes. And, of course, everyone else who commented or even lurked during many of our lengthy discussions. As the saying goes, maybe the real treasure was the friends we made along the way.

So, the episode itself... well, coulda gone better, but I'll point out some of the things that I liked first. I liked the 2404 parts pretty much; the old-age makeup on the surviving crew was pretty good, Miral looked just about exactly the way you'd expect the child of Tom and B'Elanna to look, the business with "Joe" (and Joe's remarks concerning acceptance of holosexuality) were funny, ditto Captain Kim's comments about being busted back down to ensign if he were caught. (Also, I found it amusing that veteran Trek character actor Vaughn Armstrong plays the Klingon Korath; in the pilot for [Star Trek:] Enterprise, the next episode in the franchise, he plays a Starfleet admiral dealing with the aftermath of first contact with the Klingons.) The effects used for the transwarp conduit hub were pretty good. Tim Russ especially shone in his madness scene. Finally, I liked Harry's little speech talking about the journey being more important than the destination; even if its a motivational-poster cliche, it still rings very, very true, and should have been the way to summarize the entire series.

Should have been, I said. Because that's not the way that this episode played out. The upshot of this episode is, no matter what may have happened in the remaining sixteen years of Voyager's voyage, whatever discoveries they made or new allies they dealt with, what really mattered were Seven, Chakotay, and Tuvok. Period. I mean, maybe the last sixteen years wouldn't have been as great as the first seven, who knows. (They obviously wouldn't have cut as much time off their journey as they did the first third of it, for one thing.) But--and here's the crucial part--Admiral Janeway's plan also involved a huge risk to just about the entire Alpha Quadrant, if it had failed and the Borg had gotten crucial parts of strategic anti-Borg technology. And, even if her plan had succeeded, in its original form it would have skipped over the part about destroying the transwarp hub, in which case the Borg could continue to menace the Alpha Quadrant (or maybe the entire galaxy) with it. A-Janeway's response to Seven is on the order of "fuck those hypothetical [?!] millions; we're family." When Star Trek III inverted the "the needs of the many outweigh those of the few, or the one" quote (cited in this episode), it was understood that it was mostly just the bridge crew risking themselves (and the original Enterprise) in search of Spock. Janeway's callousness in handwaving away all those potential assimilatees demotes her motivation from obsession to sheer madness. The only thing that would have mitigated that plan would have been an in-universe acknowledgement that the Borg had been jobbed down to the status of a minor nuisance, and while that formal acknowledgement never comes, that's the effect of the episode overall. Not only do the Borg not adapt to the new countermeasures quickly enough, but they ultimately get taken down by the same sort of Borg-killing virus that they'd previously been exposed to, courtesy of Icheb's people. Ken Biller above says that the Borg are VOY's great menace, but they were passed down second-hand (and not in great shape) from TNG, and frankly the Kazon, Vidiians, and Hirogen gave them way more grief; for all they did in this episode, the Potato People would have been a worthier final foe. Also, a show which not only makes one more desperate press for Chakotay/Seven but actually makes it an integral argument for the ending being the way it is isn't going to be good, no matter what. And, finally, this episode is basically a remake of "Timeless", only not nearly as good: Harry is trying to (and does) save almost the entire crew, and only risks himself, Chakotay, Chakotay's girlfriend, and Tom.

And, above and beyond the problems with the finale, there's some lingering questions about what the show really means, both in and of itself and also for the larger franchise. What does it mean for the overall show (whose ship is named Voyager and not, say, Endgamer) when the destination is ultimately more important than the journey, to the extent that they're willing to risk probably billions of lives for a shortcut? One of the things that kept popping into my head when I was thinking about the finale was something that Johnny Rotten supposedly said at the end of the Sex Pistols' last concert (not counting the latter-day revival): "Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" That's what it's like when they stumble across a transwarp hub, and the captain's future self happens to get in just the right frame of mind to give them exactly what they need to take advantage of it. I've been thinking about it for a bit, and there are three different endings that they could have taken that would have fit in just fine with the series:

1. The Transwarp Gambit: They make quantum slipstream or some other transwarp technology work, and are setting out for the final leg of their journey... only they have misgivings about actually returning home. Maybe it's some of the messages from Starfleet that they've been getting, hinting that it may not be the organization that they remembered from when they left, maybe more hardline in the wake of the Dominion War (there was that never-followed-up-on bit where the person that they were talking to was asking about the Maquis; maybe there are hints that Seven's debriefing may be a bit more hostile than they'd want), and there are some discussions among the crew about whether they really want to go home. This could be tied in with Ron Moore's ideas about Voyager; maybe it would be more that Voyager has changed from a standard Starfleet ship, or maybe a combination of the two. It would end with an acknowledgement that a transwarp-capable Federation would not only be beyond its Alpha and Beta Quadrant rivals (and, arguably, the Dominion), but now in the league of heavy hitters such as the Borg and Voth. This is my preferred ending.

2. What About Suspiria? You know, the other Nacene seen in "Cold Fire" and whose fate was left unresolved (along with the uplifted Ocampa). That would have tied in the beginning of the show with the end, and also provided a better final appearance for Kes, who, unless I missed it, isn't even mentioned in the finale.

3. A Better Endgame: Much as with the actual finale, but not only is some mention made of the people who join the crew in the original continuity, replacing some of the people who died (and did you notice that Admiral Janeway says that twenty-odd other crew would die, but didn't bother to name them, since they weren't as important as the "family" members? Nor did she care about Stadi and the other members of her original crew who died when they were pulled to the DQ? Who needs those losers, right?) , but some of them manage to pull the time-travel trick, and convince Admiral Janeway that many of them would have been screwed if they hadn't come aboard, and they were worth saving. Plus, the thing where Seven says that, with foreknowledge of her death, she can probably avoid it isn't just handwaved away, and that saves Chakotay, too (although having him pine away for loss of her is a cringey idea that doesn't need to be preserved), and as for Tuvok? Hey, remember when we had stasis chambers? Boom, solved! Result: they get the extended trip, but more people live, and you get your near-future epilogue ending where Seven's hopefully taken up with Data or Julian Bashir or, heck, Kira Nerys. (Last-episode fandom confession: I sorta ship Seven and Kira. Sorta.)

Anyway, enough of my ranting. Discuss your thoughts about the finale or the series at whole, or even defend the status quo... if you dare.

Poster's Log, supplemental: It has been a long road, gettin' from there to here.
posted by Halloween Jack (25 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Before my proper reply, let me point folks to this FanFare talk thread about gettin' from here to wherever.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:58 AM on August 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I have to be out a bit today, so I'm going to start by posting what I wrote last week, then come back and actually respond to what the rest of you all had to say, or worse, add more stuff. Warning: this has gotta be the longest post I've had in my years here at Metafilter:

Particle of the Week: No clear winner, here at the end.

I thought about going back and hand-counting all the results for tallies, but I'm old, and I dunno. Offhand though, here were some things I noticed:

- Borg Nanoprobes: seems like there's nothing these little guys can't do. They can even be used to cure death itself, on a modest timetable.
- Photons: lots of plots hinged on the Doctor's photonic nature.
- Klingon DNA: this wasn't nearly as prolific as some of the others, but it came up more often than I would've expected, generally fueling plots about how Klingons are disease resistant (see both the Vidiians and the whole Kuvah'magh thing.)
- Tetryons: seems like Voyager has no resistance to tetryons, as these were used to blow through their shields on a couple notable occasions.
- Radiogenic particles: Voyager will never live down insisting that these are responsible for rain. My third grade teacher would want a word with the writers over that one.

Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: Since this is the last one until we get a new rewatch going, I guess I'll offer a few:

- Endgame is actually set in roughly the same timeframe as Star Trek Online, which is a total crapsack world by comparison. Here, the Federation looks to be doing well. There's no talk of war, the Borg have been pushed back, there's still peace with the Klingons after the renewal of the Khitomer Accords on DS9.

By comparison, the MMO features a Federation pressed on all sides, fighting off basically every antagonist ever featured anywhere: Borg, Species 8472, Tzenkathi, Vaadwaur, even Voth, Iconians and H'urq. The timeline is grimmer for a number of these characters in STO as well: Paris is in charge of a quirky military squad instead of living peacefully as a novelist, the Doctor is unmarried (and recruitable), Harry is the same rank but embroiled in a standard 'torment Harry Kim' story with the Kobali. Seven is still pretty Borgy, and Chakotay is nowhere in sight. Tuvok is in charge of Voyager, apparently the only one to never escape that ship.

Amusingly, it is not unreasonable to lay the blame for this on Admiral Janeway mucking with the timeline.

- In this finale, Janeway cares way more about her bridge crew than rank-and-file. This maps to the MMO in the form of the Bridge Officer (BOFF) and Duty Officer (DOFF) systems. BOFFs accompany your character directly on missions, using mostly the same gear as your actual character. You can dress them up, rename them, turn them into ace pilots or miracle workers, etc. They gain ranks as you do, (always one step or more behind, of course). You only really use between five to ten at any given time, between your bridge stations (1-6) and Away slots (4), which may overlap if you're not concerned about ground optimization.

DOFFs can't change: they always have the same abilities as when you first get them. You can't really look them over, all they get is a portrait and thumbnail description. They're sent on special missions you can't join in on - you just get notification of success or failure afterward. (It used to be possible for them to die on these missions. I was tickled to lose a low quality scientist studying astronomy one time. They took that away years ago, sadly.) You start with a capacity of 100 DOFFs, which can be bought up to 400.

This preserves the basic 'feel' of Star Trek in general, where some characters are obviously much more important than others based strictly on their relationship to their captain.

Also, presented for fun, some of my favorite DOFFs include:
> Holographic William Shakespeare
> Fuk Shasvotty (names are randomly generated)
> Gren the Recreant (dude just sounds chill)
> Marion Francis Dulmer (from the DS9 tribbles episode!)
> the Doctor (if slotted, he can beam in when you use a hypospray during ground combat, and he totally says the catchphrase)

- The powers Admiral Janeway brings from the future were available on a cash shop version of Voyager in the Vesta bundle, including the invulnerability cheat code. It's less useful in-game though.

- Transphasic torpedoes exist in STO, but they were nerfed into the ground. While it's entirely possible to destroy a Borg cube with a single volley of torpedoes, you will not be doing it with transphasics. (I'm a torpedo nut - even wrote a pretty detailed guide on the subject - and I'm only willing to touch one fancy Breen variant.)

Final Tallies:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -29. Presumably, Future Janeway brought some extra weapons back rather than converting their existing supply. She'd been planning this caper for years. Here at the end, that's actually better than I would've expected: I think it took them about five years to run out, based on the line of dialogue I used to start this off. (Also, without the torpedo thing, I never would've thought of these headers, so I guess I'm glad the pilot had that nonsensical remark.)

* Crew: 135. No telling precisely how many were Maquis, but given 150 crew at launch, it means Janeway left ~11%-33% of her original crew dead, even given access to a time machine.

* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: so we ended on 16, averaging a little more than two per season. That's... not bad? My count is a little simplistic though, since it skips Delta Quadrant stuff that didn't make sense. I'd argue making the Kazon antagonists for two whole years was pretty silly, and that there were a lot of implausible encounters during S7, especially meeting peaceful/squirrely Talaxians. Overall though, Voyager did seem to move from new thing to new thing often enough.

* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 3 games of chicken, 1 ramming speed. I feel like she pulled this move more than other captains, but I admit I haven't combed through someplace to check.

Finale Observations:
* Endgame contributed to my dislike of the entire Voyager run.

I don't like this story. At all. I'll get into specifics, but before I do: I quit routine Voyager watching well before this while it was airing. Just couldn't take it any more without a support group like this one. However, I did come back to see how they wrapped it up during the original airing. That didn't leave me with a positive impression when we started this rewatch together.

On to specifics:

* Borg decay.

The Queen ruins the Borg experience for me. This is a topic we went back and forth on a bit during Dark Frontier, but to reiterate my position: the Borg didn't need a single speaker to provide dramatic dialogue with our protagonists because the Borg have had that since TBoBW. Seriously, they were only faceless, silent antagonists during Q Who. Indeed, one of my two favorite Borg stories involves extensive negotiations with the Borg without any sign of a Queen: Janeway negotiates an entire deal with them during Scorpion, and she just talks to Seven of Nine.

Introducing the Queen just makes them seem petty and vulnerable, and Endgame does nothing to make me think otherwise.

* C/7: WTF?

So here we have the Chakotay/Seven pairing, completely out of left field. They didn't even bother to telegraph this during Natural Law, where the two of them were trapped together on a scenic planet with no one else to talk to mere episodes ago, and here they are, destined to be married in Admiral Janeway's future.

We know Voyager could plan ahead, because they planned Neelix's departure near the start of the season, but they couldn't do anything with this?

It also takes time away from the A-plot, and raises ethical questions about Seven using holo-Chakotay to practice dating on. Like... did she tell him? Is that considered rude in this timeframe? (Leah Brahms didn't like it when Geordi was doing that, but she was married, and it's unclear whether that was the issue versus him creepering.)

Anyway, this was a needless distraction in the story, completely unearned at this late date.

* What the hell, Janeway?

Janeway has been the most inconsistently written character on Voyager from the jump. Unfortunately, Endgame centers on my least favorite version of her: Selfish Janeway. Here she is, willing to break time itself. And not to save everybody. Not to save the universe. Not even to save everybody on her crew - she could've easily saved Carey and still arranged what she did here. That wasn't very long ago at all.

Instead, she's pretty much just here for Seven, Chakotay and Tuvok. Those are the only figures who even get name checked.

And the thing is, superficially, this is a time-honored Trek tradition: see also The Search for Spock and so on. If the whole thing were just Janeway risking her own neck to save some friends, that could've been admirable, (no pun intended).

Instead, she's manipulated the Klingon ruling council to put a corrupt and dangerous person in the government, risking Miral Paris' life and future in the process, in order to take advanced technology back in time and dangle it in front of the Borg. Every step of her plan risks *someone else* because she feels bad.

Then, when she gets to the present timeframe, she rails against helping strangers for most of the episode. It seems to me that she only even signs off on her heroic sacrifice because Voyager's willing to go home early for her if she helps them do some actual work.

In the end, Janeway went full Evil Admiral.

Also, it's tempting to say it all worked out in the end, except we know that the Borg have *five other* transwarp hubs in the galaxy anyway, we know the Queen doesn't die when her vessel is killed because it's happened before, and we know the Queen managed to figure out *at least* armor technology before she kerploded. It's tough to say what strategic advantages just got handed to the worst guys in the Milky Way.

* What the hell, Braxton?

Whenever Captain Braxton isn't on the screen during Endgame, the other characters should be asking each other 'where's Captain Braxton?' Also, he should be louder, angrier and have renewed access to a time machine.

More seriously though: someone should've put a stop to Admiral Janeway from further in the future. We know they can, we know they frequently do stop this stuff. Hell, Annorax got stymied so often he believed time itself was out to get him.

And yet not a peep from anybody to stop these events.

The easy answer to that is: Voyager brought back advanced future technology, and it's possible that the time cops from the 29th century were willing to overlook Admiral Janeway's offence because it meant giving Earth future prototypes. This wouldn't be the first time a series of events were left like that: Braxton himself was apparently responsible for the Information Age via Henry Starling, and nobody fixed that in Future's End.

So it looks like 'rules for thee but not for me' are totally a thing with the Federation's future time cop stuff, which is... just not cool.

* Typical Voyager ending.

Everything wrapped in a bow, no time to consider any repercussions. I mean, they're back at Earth, and that's... just it. No debriefing. No coda. No idea if the former Maquis members are going to stay in Starfleet. No idea if Harry will finally get those promotions he got passed over for. No statement about whether Starfleet will take apart the weapon & armor upgrades and make them standard-issue, (I mean, they totally will, but it could get a nod).

So yeah. This was weak and frustrating, and although it doesn't even crack my ten worst episodes, this was a lousy way to end the show. About the only good thing I can say here is, it's better than ENT got, but that's damning with some very faint praise indeed. Compare the lackluster Borg boom to the end of the Dominion war, or the revelation that Q's actually been rating all of TNG and found them wanting.

Series Observations:
* Voyager was better about women than I recalled.

Voyager did some questionable stuff where women were concerned, but on the balance, I'd label it the most successfully feminist Trek of its time, which is also a sobering thought. TNG had Crusher and Troi, which was... well, I suspect it will be a painful rewatch for me on that point, should we undertake it. DS9 did have Kira and Dax, both solid characters, but they kept shoehorning Kira into annoying romantic subplots. Worse, they killed of Jadzia over sexist harassment of Terry Farrell behind the scenes. Kira Nerys is still probably my favorite woman in all of Trek, but my last rewatch of DS9 left me pretty nonplussed on this subject overall.

Voyager did put Seven in that stupid catsuit, but on the other hand, we got Janeway, who was never seriously saddled with a romance (holograms or Ambiguous Bath Planets notwithstanding), B'Ellana (who received several great techno-thriller plots, and whose romance played out over years) and Seven, who managed to be formidable due to Jeri Ryan's excellent performance even though they started her off as a pandering move.

Props to Voyager about this. I wish they'd done more, but it's my view that they exceeded their contemporaries and forebears, and it's my dim recollection that they significantly outperformed ENT here too. (DISCO's a different animal - I'll reserve judgment until it's been around awhile.)

* The show was much worse about race than I recalled.

Star Trek is, unfortunately, a bastion of racial essentialism: the idea that your race/species determines a lot of things about your character that are difficult or impossible to change, and easily reducible to lazy stereotypes. Every Trek series had some element of that, but Voyager really doubled down on it. This showed up all sorts of ways, including but not limited to:

- Extensive prejudice concerning Klingons. This was especially galling since a lot of this mapped onto Roxanne Dawson, a woman of color. They even went with the dreaded 'POC smell funny' trope during the whole Kuvah'Magh storyline.

- Noble Savage stories, presented uncritically. See: tribes of Native Americans still using rocks and sticks in the 24th goddamn century. It's easy to lay the blame for that on Jamake Highwater, but these tropes were still in S7, long after he was no longer a thing. Also: they hired Jamake Highwater in the first place, which is indefensible. (Lotta Native people complained about him at the time, white folks never listened. Even his obituary labels him Native in mainstream media, without correction last I checked. I will never not be pissed about that whole business.)

- Lot of coziness with Space Nazis. Voyager's attitudes toward Nazi analogues like the Traabe, Jetrel and Crell Moset were all pretty bad. I can get into specifics as needed, but I was pretty unhappy with how easy it was for them to take the side of space fascists over and over. The show looked pretty bad in that light, repeatedly.

- A lot of paving over non-human cultural values. Tuvok was constantly expected to lighten up, Neelix was always learning human stuff instead of vice versa, etc. Human cultural imperialism was critiqued a fair bit on DS9, (see the whole 'root beer' discussion between Quark and Garak in particular), but this was all presented without introspection on Voyager, and it was pretty irritating.

As a POC, I found it difficult to actually finish Voyager over this. As some may recall, I actually did quit for a couple weeks. This is definitely the last time I watch this show from start to finish, never skipping one. If I never hear goddamn 'akoocheemoya' again, it'll be too soon.

* Series must-sees:

Voyager did knock it outta the park sometimes. In no particular order:
- Author, Author: this is legitimately valuable literature, IMO. I'd be tempted to teach it in school, if that were a thing I did.
- Timeless: like Endgame, but good.
- Living Witness: not as strong on rewatch, but still a pretty great alternate take on Voyager.
- Scorpion: one of the best Borg stories ever told... and look ma, no Queen.
- Unity: my *favorite* Borg story ever told. Far, far creepier take on Borg liberation than TNG's cult-oriented Descent storyline. (Also more fun than Unimatrix Zero - I was sad this thread never got run with.)

* Worst episodes:

People love to talk about Threshold as 'the worst Trek,' but it's not. It features a legitimately fun performance from Paris. If not for the lizard baby ending, it'd be a pretty solid cosmic horror story. Even with that awful ending, it's really more of a Spock's Brain 'let us never speak of this again' kind of deal. Like, I could see someone making Threshold: the Musical.

The worst Voyager was more angry-making than merely stupid:
- Retrospect: the false memories episode, possibly the worst episode of Star Trek, never mind Voyager. Special message: don't listen to a woman who complains about abuse.
- Tattoo: Native Americans learned to talk because aliens injected language into their primitive brains out of respect. Second worst Voyager episode, IMO.
- Faces: Voyager doubling down on race essentialism. 'Klingons walk like this, but humans walk like this, amirite?' One of the early episodes that made continuing hard for me, as a biracial person myself.
- Nothing Human: it's cool to ignore the victims of war crimes for realpolitik.
- Elogium: wherein somehow the episode is spent debating whether an underage girl should have a baby with her much older boyfriend or be forever childless. WTH, Voyager?

I could go on, and might later, but those are the ones I remembered without looking, good and bad.

* Overall thoughts.

I am glad we did this rewatch together. This has been lots of fun. Special thanks to CheesesOfBrazil and Halloween Jack for putting together a steady stream of the finest posts ever seen on Fanfare. I would never have done this without you both, and you're awesome.

Also, special mention to gusottertrout in particular (hope you have an essay for us too, here at the end), and everyone else who joined us.

This is the first time in my life I'm going to miss Star Trek Voyager. Go team Fanfare. :)

With that, be back later!
posted by mordax at 9:28 AM on August 6, 2018 [13 favorites]

The Queen ruins the Borg experience for me. This is a topic we went back and forth on a bit during Dark Frontier, but to reiterate my position: the Borg didn't need a single speaker to provide dramatic dialogue with our protagonists because the Borg have had that since TBoBW. Seriously, they were only faceless, silent antagonists during Q Who. Indeed, one of my two favorite Borg stories involves extensive negotiations with the Borg without any sign of a Queen: Janeway negotiates an entire deal with them during Scorpion, and she just talks to Seven of Nine.

Introducing the Queen just makes them seem petty and vulnerable, and Endgame does nothing to make me think otherwise.

Agreed 100%. Down with the Queen.
posted by homunculus at 1:22 PM on August 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

they ultimately get taken down by the same sort of Borg-killing virus that they'd previously been exposed to, courtesy of Icheb's people.

- In "Best of Both Worlds" the Borg are told to "sleep" via Locutus. This has the convenient side effect of making them blow up, which seems like a pretty big design flaw.
- In "I, Borg" they debate on making Hugh a virus vector and decide against it but it doesn't matter because somehow anyway the Borg that find him have a hard time reintegrating him and are cut off from the Collective as a result.
- Icheb's people keep trying to feed the Borg with poisoned bait, in a plan that can only be described as "painfully obvious." This doesn't stop the Borg from assimilating the bait and getting sick.
- Old Janeway gives herself up as poisoned bait in the exact same way. This does not stop the Borg from trying to assimalate her and getting sick.

Guys, I think it's possible the Borg have always been completely incompetent? At this point I feel like after Q introduced the Borg to Picard, who resorted to begging Q to save them, Q decided the Borg were a little TOO scary and snapped his fingers to make them really, really dumb. They could keep their advanced powerful technology but had to give up all the common sense, quarantine procedures, and tactical knowledge that they ever assimilated.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:29 PM on August 6, 2018 [7 favorites]

Allan Kroeker also directed the series finale for Deep Space 9 and Enterprise.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:57 PM on August 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

Great retrospectives and analysis already. Here are my hopefully-not-too-scattered/confusing remarks.

The A.V. Club article "Star Trek: Voyager Accidentally Presided Over the Franchise's Decline" may be worth a look on this occasion. It suggests that the reason VOY didn't last more than seven seasons may have been declining ratings. I feel like, while that may have been A factor, the show and its cast and crew really just seemed to be winding down.

I actually took notes while rewatching "Endgame" this time (I didn't do this for any other Trek FanFare thread), and one of my observations was how, 30-40 minutes in, I wasn't really feeling very much of anything. I'm sure that's partly attributable to this being my roughly third time watching the episode, but I'm equally sure there's more to it than that.

Way back in "Caretaker," I mentioned the Janeway Alignment-Tracking Project that my wife undertook. When I reminded her of it during this rewatch, she said something to the effect of "Ohhhh yeaaahhh!" followed by "Ughhhhh…", but what we landed on is, Prime-Janeway's Chaotic Good, but Future-Janeway's gotta be CE.

Similarly, back in season one, I noted my intent to track the overall tone of the show. I think it's safe and accurate to sum it up as "generally anodyne and actiony and often goofy, but moreso than is fitting for the setting/overall story arc." I won't belabor that point here since "Endgame" is actually kind of tonally divergent from whatever the VOY tonal mean is.

Content-wise, you folks have already covered a great deal of what I wanted to single out about "Endgame" (and also, I have always considered this to be my least favorite Trek series finale (including TOS, which didn't really even have one), until ENT: "These Are the Voyages" of course). Plot-writing-wise, you can see why they made a lot of these choices; I mean, thematically, a lot of this fits. Future-Janeway sacrificing herself for the ship can be seen not only as an apotheosis of her character's overall arc throughout the show, but maybe even as atonement for all those times she allowed her personal feelings to override good captaining.

But, to piggyback off of what Jack rightly points out, you can forgive almost every in-universe decision here if you ignore one factor: the Admiral has risked allowing the Borg to assimilate 30-decades-ahead technology. This was a major dropped ball in the writers' room, presumably a consequence of time pressure. Or exhaustion. (On the other hand, Bernd at Ex Astris Scientia "almost casually they also give the Borg the death blow and let Starfleet acquire all kinds of future technology - as if they wanted to prevent themselves from ever making a 24th century series again." I dunno, that might be too conspiratorial. I perceive, overall, indications that the final few episodes of the series were really just kind of rushed. For example, C7. Troi and Worf in "All Good Things" was a good deal more earned.)

The upshot of this episode is, no matter what may have happened in the remaining sixteen years of Voyager's voyage, whatever discoveries they made or new allies they dealt with, what really mattered were Seven, Chakotay, and Tuvok. Period.

And here too, I attribute this "choice" less to malice or flagrant incompetence than just not giving themselves enough time to think through the implications of their story. (Along with too much of their attention being paid to action and effects, of course.)

You could argue that "Endgame" as-is is actually the perfect finale for Voyager (in that Janeway seems to go directly against two of her supposed bedrock principles, and in the process, shows us a too-brief glimpse of the grittier and more realistic show that we could've gotten, only to clumsily (and Directive-violatingly) employ the reset button to give us a happy, yet strangely truncated, ending); i.e., it's abrupt, chaotic, and full of maddening glimpses of what might have been.

Ya know what would have been ballsy? For them to decide, screw the standard Big TV Event formula; let's do like TNG: "Family"—the episode tease IS the ship's return to Earth, and the rest of the episode is the crew dealing with the consequences of their return. Tom has to convince Admiral Paris not to pull strings to advance his career, preferring to focus on being a civilian dad. B'Elanna has to decide whether to accept an invitation to bring her family to live in the Klingon Empire. Harry must suffer while trying to explain to his parents why he never got a promotion in seven of the roughest years any Starfleet officer could endure, and when he gets reassigned to the exact same position and rank AGAIN (and learns that Barclay got promoted to Voyager's new chief engineer), he quits, flees Earth, and signs on with the Nyberrite Alliance—sharing a transport to the Klingon border with Tom, B'Elanna, and Miral. Tuvok, having by now really had his fill of humans, annoys everyone by resigning again and relocating his family to some remote Vulcan colony. Seven—overwhelmed by pressure to be more human, media attention, and Ferengi offers of varying degrees of distastefulness—eventually shows up on Tuvok's new doorstep, seeking spiritual guidance and a couch to crash on. Janeway, down a fiance, semi-bitterly doubles-down on her career, but shocks everyone by turning down some glamorous command in favor of gunning for Admiral. And the Doctor, appalled by conditions for holograms in the Alpha Quadrant, enlists Chakotay's help in starting an underground holo-resistance movement. The climactic scene is Chakotay and the Doctor, on a secret subspace channel, successfully convincing Janeway to keep mum about their activities—and saying goodbye for very possibly forever.

I mean, the network would've hated it, but what're they gonna do—cancel the show?

To an extent, I still feel the same sense I've basically always had of this being the safe, comforting, Wonder Bread incarnation of Trek. But now, having really analyzed every episode, I think I know why that is: due to one missed opportunity after another, the show itself gradually ratchets down your expectations to the point that you stop even looking for those opportunities that the show is missing, in some cases even if you are posting FanFare threads for every other episode. (I for one, especially over the last couple seasons, certainly noticed my own failure to notice a few instances of ball-dropping that other VOY FF posters and/or Bernd did notice, instances that would have really irritated me on DS9 or TNG but that I just sort of shrugged my shoulders at here once my attention was called them.) So you end up not really bringing your full, conscious, analytical attention to a VOY episode until it gives you some reason to "re-engage." At times, I felt like I was watching one of the weaker Marvel movies. And because I've analyzed that phenomenon of diminishing expectations, I feel that the pleasant Wonder Bread factor has been diluted a little by, well, resentment's too strong a word (except for certain episodes), so I'll say frustration.

Many of us, probably including myself, have used the word "frustration" throughout this rewatch, and if I had to do a one-word review of this show, that's what I think I'd use: "frustrating." Yet, given the choice (all other things being equal) of a rewatch of VOY or ENT, I'd choose VOY every time, because the word I'd use for ENT (based on my memory of my one viewing of that series) is "tiresome," which makes VOY more engaging even when it's also enraging.

But at the same time, I also have to give VOY credit for not being enraging as often as TOS or early TNG was—and the different-decades excuse notwithstanding, the simple fact is that some things are just too hard for us contemporary viewers to look past. VOY had a lot less of that genuinely offensive stuff than TOS or early TNG. (DS9, I'd argue, had less than VOY did, though possibly not dramatically less.)

And the REAL big thing that VOY truly deserves credit for, and the thing that will bring me back to it (…now and then…like, when I'm sick), is the cast. It's a goddamn crime that, after VOY, we got ENT rather than some post-Dominion-War, post-Voyager-return ensemble show—doing like DS9 did by bringing on O'Brien and Worf, only on a more massive scale. Think of all the actors who would undoubtedly have been down for it: Tim Russ, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, NIMOY. And probably Takei, Garrett Wang, Denise Crosby, Armin Shimerman. Sorry—more maddening glimpses of what might have been.

Maybe THAT should've been the title of this episode: "What Might Have Been." Too meta?

Special thanks to CheesesOfBrazil and Halloween Jack for putting together a steady stream of the finest posts ever seen on Fanfare. I would never have done this without you both, and you're awesome.

Aw shucks! And my thanks to Jack and mordax and gus and other regulars like Mr. Encyclopedia and Servo and even to Ursula for not being too mad at our savaging of some of these episodes ^-^!

This was super fun. I was actually a little apprehensive about this rewatch, not so much because of the show itself, but because I worried that years-after-the-fact hyper-analysis might degrade my love of this franchise the way it did for Star Wars right around Revenge of the Sith. I'm happy to report that I'm pretty sure that didn't happen, though my views of the legacy of Trek have absolutely shifted. And will doubtlessly continue to, especially when The Picard Show premieres and I finally give in to the siren song of All Access and probably watch the rest of DISCO finally. I for one will continue to boldly go voyaging into these next generations unless J.J. is running everything.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:18 PM on August 6, 2018 [12 favorites]

And, of course, mordax, aka the Third Poster, who not only kept track of some of the more irregular bits of continuity for every episode and also noted continuity points between this series and Star Trek Online, but also provided thoughtful commentary and perspective that changed my mind about some of the episodes.

High praise indeed. Thank you very much. :)

Also: I'm amused we hit so many of the same points, now that I have time to read/process/etc. The Timeless comparison is particularly apt, and I'm glad you spent more time on it than I did.

I've been thinking about it for a bit, and there are three different endings that they could have taken that would have fit in just fine with the series:

This is something I wanted to call out: I appreciate these 'what if the show had been good, what would that look like?' asides.

My head just doesn't work that way. When I watch something like this, I only really pick it apart: what was here? What can I scavenge or learn from this to improve my own storytelling?

It's cool that you try to look at how the show could've been better too. That's a neat habit. :)

In this case, I particularly like the Suspiria angle. I feel like a Nacene deciding to send them back for whatever reason (possibly to avert some major catastrophe?) would've been better than returning to the Borg. Over and above my complaints about the Borg, you're correct: Kes isn't even name-checked here, and that's frustrating.

Poster's Log, supplemental: It has been a long road, gettin' from there to here.

Really has. Heh.

Guys, I think it's possible the Borg have always been completely incompetent?

Pre-Queen, my thought was simply that the Borg didn't really care about the Federation that much, like they're operating on a scope where this is a table scrap they're sending someone to sweep up. Like 'oh, Wolf 359 didn't work out? Send someone else in 10 years, whatever.'

Voyager did a pretty good job of skewing that impression more toward your incompetence theory, which is a shame.

Way back in "Caretaker," I mentioned the Janeway Alignment-Tracking Project that my wife undertook. When I reminded her of it during this rewatch, she said something to the effect of "Ohhhh yeaaahhh!" followed by "Ughhhhh…", but what we landed on is, Prime-Janeway's Chaotic Good, but Future-Janeway's gotta be CE.

Hahaha, right?

I suppose one thing that I'll say about it is: I guess the seeds were always there. Evil Admiral Janeway has her roots in acts as big as the deal she cut in Scorpion or her general thuggery in Equinox, to the small ones like demanding B'Ellana to forgive her in Nothing Human. Selfish Janeway was always lurking, all through the run. She just kept a better lid on it during the actual VOY run.

Many of us, probably including myself, have used the word "frustration" throughout this rewatch, and if I had to do a one-word review of this show, that's what I think I'd use: "frustrating."

Yeah, that sums it up. On the balance, I still don't like Voyager, but it's because you can see just how close it was to being legitimately great and chooses not to be at almost every turn. They had wonderful casting, great SFX, etc., they just... didn't inhabit the universe, feel it, breathe it, love it. (In my mind, that will forever remain the big difference between DS9 and VOY.)

Ya know what would have been ballsy? For them to decide, screw the standard Big TV Event formula; let's do like TNG: "Family"—the episode tease IS the ship's return to Earth, and the rest of the episode is the crew dealing with the consequences of their return.

First of all, same comment to you as Jack: I appreciate the what-ifs and reimaginings that you've offered because it's not my wheelhouse. (I like the RPG scenario talk too. I ran tabletop games for most of my life. I miss shop talk. It's neat you still do that stuff.)

Second thought: this was what I was hoping for as a viewer, back in the day. I wanted to know what happened. I didn't need big kerplosions, I wanted to know about Tuvok's family! Janeway's dogs! I love the idea of Seven hiding out on Vulcan, it seems perfect given their friendship on the ship.

This was super fun. I was actually a little apprehensive about this rewatch, not so much because of the show itself, but because I worried that years-after-the-fact hyper-analysis might degrade my love of this franchise the way it did for Star Wars right around Revenge of the Sith. I'm happy to report that I'm pretty sure that didn't happen, though my views of the legacy of Trek have absolutely shifted.

Fair worry. I'm glad you still love it.
posted by mordax at 5:42 PM on August 6, 2018 [7 favorites]

Oh, in the interest of having something positive here at the end, this is one of my favorite moments in Voyager:
JANEWAY: You know as well as I do that fear only exists for one purpose. To be conquered.
CLOWN: She tricked me.
JANEWAY: Did she? Or was a part of you actually hoping to be defeated? Isn't that why you allowed Captain Janeway to come here? Because you sensed she had the power to subdue you.
(It is getting dark.)
CLOWN: No. She lied. That was very un-Starfleet of her.
JANEWAY: Starfleet captains don't easily succumb to fear.
CLOWN: What will become of us? Of me?
JANEWAY: Like all fear, you eventually vanish.
CLOWN: I'm afraid.
JANEWAY: I know.
(From The Thaw.)
posted by mordax at 6:44 PM on August 6, 2018 [8 favorites]

I haven't followed every episode of the rewatch but I've seen like 80% of Voyager and have commented in here a couple of times. These recap/rewatch threads have been great. I have some thoughts about Voyager in general...

The show, with a handful of exceptions, never lives up to its own premise. Voyager is pitched as a show about a single Federation starship alone in a distant part of the galaxy. They have no backup, no supplies, and no allies. The show should be one about an increasingly desperate struggle of the Voyager crew to continue to adhere to their principles when they're not surrounded by a post-scarcity society. Instead what we often get is TNG, but less so. It's Star Trek with the edges sanded off.

I had high hopes for this show after DS9. By the time Voyager starts, DS9 is explicitly a show about how people compromise their ideals in the face of a harsh reality, and how they deal with that compromise. Voyager is a show about being lost in space with no hope of rescue, but basically everything's fine?

Frustration is definitely a theme of the series for me. The most frustrating thing to me is that there are glimpses throughout the series of what it could have been. I'm thinking of episodes like Year of Hell I & II, Equinox I & II, and even Course: Oblivion that offer glimpses of the kind of show Voyager could be. Instead of really digging into its own premise and building the show around a fight for survival the show opts for things to be mostly hunky dory and, if they didn't mention it twice an episode, most of the time you'd never know they weren't in Federation space.

If I had to point to a show that I think represents what I wish Voyager had been I'd call out Stargate: Universe. It's a show about a group thrown across the galaxy with no support or infrastructure in a ship that's low on supplies and falling apart. It had its own problems but every episode was about how to keep themselves and the ship alive and it still had time to dig into big sci-fi ideas. Of course, it was canceled, which is only more frustrating.

Voyager could be a decent Trek series, despite it not living up to its own premise (or possibly not living up to my expectations), if its main cast wasn't so damn... bland. Of the entire cast the only characters I feel anything for are Seven, the Doctor, and Janeway. Paris, B'Elanna, Chakotay, Kim and Tuvok are just nothing. I mean, I'd be hard-pressed to think of anything about those characters that isn't encompassed in their one-line description. Hell, they never even figure out exactly what tribe Chakotay is descended from, despite devoting a couple episodes to his back story. I mean, I guess we learn that Tom Paris likes 20th century stuff? Meanwhile you can count me as one of those people who finds Neelix's optimism and enthusiasm more annoying than endearing. Plus, there's that whole abusive relationship with Kes thing. I do think that the next Trek show should have been set post-Voyager, but I have no interest in seeing any of the characters return. They had seven seasons to make them interesting and they failed.

You'd be forgiven for thinking I hate Voyager given the above. It is my least favorite Trek after TOS, but there are lots of episodes I enjoy watching. I'd even say that TNG has many more bad episodes than Voyager over its run. The problem is that Voyager never manages to reach the heights of the best TNG episodes so it's harder to forgive the rest. One anecdote: I moved right before the premiere, we hadn't set up cable, and we didn't get UPN, so I had to borrow a badly recorded tape of the first episode from a friend.
posted by runcibleshaw at 10:15 PM on August 6, 2018 [4 favorites]

Course: Oblivion is definitely one my favorite episodes of TV in general. It's a gut punch and a mind fuck that lingers for days.

I think the first mistake was demanding that Voyager MUST go home, instead of telling the story of how Voyager is now home, and how the crew copes with that. What home do the Maquis have to go to? The Maquis were eventually destroyed by the Dominion, so getting home was always going to be bittersweet for them. It's one of the same flaws that infected Andromeda. Why do we need to ressurect this old empire so desperately? Does no one reflect on their choices?
posted by Brocktoon at 12:47 AM on August 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

After decades of watching Trekkies shit and shit and shit on Voyager, this show I loved, I expected these threads to be more of the same. It turned out to be more thoughtful and less nasty than I'd feared, although I don't regret that I largely stayed out. I knew I'd just get into scraps and I had a better time reading than I would have had arguing.

I've been reading the Fanfare Trek threads for years now. I remember reading them when I was in the hospital with cancer, and I don't know how many times since then I've read them while I was trying to distract myself from the latest medical shit. There always seemed to be a new thread when I was stuck in a doctor's waiting room, so I could get lost in the latest arguments about the Prime Directive while I waited and waited and waited. You crazy people have helped keep me sane during some very scary times.

I did watch Enterprise when it was on, but I never really loved it and the show is kind of a big gray blur to me now. I doubt I'll keep up with the Enterprise threads much, and I don't have CBS All-Access to keep up with Discovery, so I'm afraid the end of this rewatch will be kind of the end of an era for me. But maybe we can all meet up again for that new Jean-Luc Picard show! I'll look forward to it. I badly need some good Trek in my life, and I know I'll miss hearing from you folks.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:01 AM on August 7, 2018 [8 favorites]

Everyone covered the main points. Here's my casual observations.

- My mind was blown after not realizing that, yeah, old Janeway(Omega Janeway?) almost gave modern Borg future tech.

- The show would have been better if young Janeway(Alpha Janeway?) would have sacrificed herself. Not the cranky Omega Janeway.

- The Seven/Chakotay relationship needed more time to breath. It needed more development.

- I liked the idea that the senior staff was ready to stay in the Delta Quadrant. It had this sense of optimistic resolve.

- Tim Russ FTW!! He really killed it as a vulcan losing his mind. That moment where Omega Janeway was telling him goodbye. That really got me.

I tried to watch the rest of season 7. But I just couldn't. Voyager just lacks that attention to detail that DS9 had.
Thanks Cheeses and Halloween Jack and everyone who contributed. I lurked even though I stopped watching. These threads became my connection to trek for a while.
posted by hot_monster at 10:12 AM on August 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

I remember watching "Endgame" when it premiered on my little 13" color TV in my college apartment bedroom, glancing at the clock as the two hours ticked down and thinking disappointedly to myself "We're not going to get to see what happens when they get back to Earth", and sure enough the series ends with "Set a course for home" bookending the last line of "Caretaker" and a shot of Voyager escorted by Starfleet ships en route to Earth. I'm not one to talk back to the TV, but I found myself blurting out "That's it?!"

Years later I read an interview with I think Rick Berman who said that we got to see Voyager's return at the start of "Endgame", so there was no need to repeat it at the end, but that's terrible thinking. The audience has stuck with this show and these characters for seven seasons. I really felt we were owed a "and then what happened?" with these people.

Thanks to everyone here who has made these Voyager FanFare threads so enjoyable. I look forward to whatever comes next for us, be it Enterprise or jumping backward to The Next Generation or waiting around for The New Jean-Luc Picard Mysteries. In any case, I'll be watching. And if you're very lucky, I'll drop by to say hello from time to time. See you out there.
posted by Servo5678 at 10:20 AM on August 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

the cranky Omega Janeway

... someone needs this as a sockpuppet name, stat.
posted by mordax at 10:28 AM on August 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

I was all excited to come in and post that the woman who played the Borg queen played a different queen - Moira Queen, Oliver's mother in Arrow. Except I'd have been wrong. Susanna Thompson played the Borg queen in episodes at the beginning of season 7, but in Endgame they had Alice Krige who originated the role In the movie Star Trek: First Contact.

Thanks to everyone who made such detailed and thoughtful posts and comments. I couldn't devote the time to the re-watch, but I enjoyed doing it vicariously through FanFare.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 1:46 PM on August 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

I haven’t posted in these threads much, but I’ve read all of them. Thanks for all of this, y’all. They were always a highlight for me.

Especially the torpedo count. Learn to count, you ridiculous typewriter jockeys!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:16 PM on August 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

It would be hilarious to see what the Federation looks like 5 years after Voyager's return, with all the tech they bring back plus the Federation's manufacturing base.

Cloaking quantum slipstream ships with impenetrable armour that can blow up Borg vessels in a single shot. The knowledge to build transwarp conduits. Sentient multi-skilled holograms with mobile emitters.

Starfleet would become the biggest badasses around.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:34 PM on August 7, 2018 [2 favorites]

Interesting to read everyone's take. I tried to participate but as usual, with Voyager, I just couldn't bother and gave up. It remains on the bottom of my Star Trek shows list in 5th with TOS (4th), TNG (3rd), ENT (2nd), and DS9 (1st) well before it. Discovery has had only season and like all the other Treks was extremely mixed in its quality. Can't put something on a list when it's not even close to being done.

All Trek show feature ridiculous science, mainstream (and therefore for the most part uninformed) ideas about politics, race, and gender that clash rather frustratingly when all the Trek shows do get nuanced progressive views right, inconsistent characters, absolutely absurd cosmic geography including speeds that make no sense most of the time (the episode in Enterprise when the Enterprise was stuck at Warp 5 light years away from Earth but Columbia catches up to them even though it too is limited to Warp 5 stands out particularly but there are dozens of examples no doubt) and all around massively inconsistent writing which makes for very inconsistent characters.

But when they do get it right, particularly the characters, it really shines and the potential of each show was always very strong.

I just find I can't forgive Voyager as much as I do the others even though I would argue that like Enterprise, the top brass seriously screwed with the production of the show which affected the writing.

It's interesting that many people would have liked to see how the crew adapted to returning to Earth but we never got that. Enterprise was supposed to be set on Earth during it's first season but no, the producers insisted it be set on a starship with a transporter they barely use and within a few episodes were already seeing a holodeck. Of course with Voyager, as has been well documented in these threads, they had to have familiar Alpha Quadrant elements throughout because hey, who the hell is going to watch a Star Trek show without muscle cars in it?

It's the lack of respect for the audience I suppose that really irritates me about Voyager to a greater extent then the other series. I do like the production of the show and the actors did great for what they had and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed a few episodes but as it became Star Trek Borg I just couldn't bother with it for a second time.
posted by juiceCake at 6:16 PM on August 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

This is my first time through a full rewatch of anything. I'm a lifelong Star Trek watcher, but never as critical and thoughtful as pretty much all of you. Reading every one of the posted has been excellent and has expanded my understanding of the ethos, both positive and negative about the franchise as well as the amazing discussions of the productions themselves.

Thank you to all the primary contributors, it's been an enjoyable and enlightening time.
posted by michswiss at 5:48 AM on August 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

I have a few more things to say. One is to repeat a comment that I made much earlier in this rewatch: I yell because I care. Also in that comment, I note the frustration at seeing episodes that almost, but not quite, stick the landing, or miss what seems like a very obvious theme or plot point, what I'd later call the Ten Percent Rule, because the episode is about 90% there. It is like watching someone get to mile 26 of a marathon--possibly even within sight of the finish line--and stop, take off their runner number, and walk away.

And I don't think that most of the people on the show, both cast and crew, were just punching the clock. I think that they meant to do not just a good job but a great one, and for a while may have even thought that that's just what they were doing. And I think that at least some of them may have simply gotten burnt out on the job. One of the things that I found interesting, not to mention sad, from the MA entry on "Endgame" was Kate Mulgrew's description of her last day filming on the show:
Completing her work on this final installment of Voyager was exceptionally difficult for the actress. "It was almost impossible to do that last scene with Picardo," admitted Mulgrew. "It was very difficult to do that Alzheimer's scene. But they kept me alone for about a week to do a lot of pick-ups on my Captain's chair and on the Bridge. It was 'Cut. Print. Thank you very much, Captain.'" Mulgrew elaborated, "It ended so abruptly, and with so little ceremony, and with no ritual. I was just standing there on the bridge all by myself, shrugged my shoulders and said, 'Well, my heavens, I guess that's it,' and walked off."
Contrast that with the last day of filming for most of the cast of DS9:
n 2002, Ronald D. Moore, who still becomes emotional when discussing the end of the show, commented, "I remember the end. We were all gathered together, they had shot the final shot, and the AD came up and she just started saying, 'Okay, it's time to say goodbye and goodnight to Nana Visitor.' And everybody applauds. And that's when it hit me, it was like, 'Oh my God, this is it, we're saying goodbye'. 'Goodbye and goodnight to Alexander Siddig. Goodbye and goodnight to Michael Dorn. Goodbye and goodnight to,' and at every one, every one, as she goes through the entire cast, there's a surge of emotions that's building, and we're all in this confined place, we're all in Vic's. And the applause is getting louder, and the cheers are getting louder, and we're going through the cast one by one by one to Avery. 'Goodbye and goodnight to Avery Brooks.' And the place just explodes, and we're hugging each other and crying, and I'm crying and I'm going up to cast members and I can't even, I literally can't even talk, I literally can't even say goodbye to them, there's tears rolling down my face, and I turned and I looked, and I waved at the writers. I just walked out. I walked off the soundstage and got in my car, and that was it, that was it, that was the moment it was all over. The wrap party was just going to be something fun we did later, but I just remember so clearly walking out of that soundstage in my Vic's suit, and into the night air and Deep Space Nine was over. It was such a moment, it just hit me so hard, those people, how much I loved those people, how much I loved those characters, how much I loved Deep Space Nine."
If there is a villain here, it's probably UPN, the little network that couldn't, but tried real hard, and pinned much of its hopes for becoming another Fox network on VOY and later Enterprise. A fair amount of the seventh season, and even "Endgame", seems to have been affected by the network's insistence on the crew's shifting focus to the new show; Allan Kroeker talks about being told to wrap up shooting ASAP so that they could concentrate on building ENT's sets, and Michael and Denise Okuda witnessed the dismantling of the engineering set, which was based on the set for the refitted Constitution-class Enterprise built for, dig it, Star Trek: Phase II, back in 1977. (Which is to say, back during the last attempt by Paramount to create a Star Trek-anchored network. Time is a wheel, folks.) For a network that's been dead for twelve years, people seem awful reluctant to talk about it--maybe because the principals are still around in the business--and I was frustrated at not getting a lot of solid info on UPN's dealings with the Trek shows and their personnel, either in The Fifty-Year Mission or in Season Finale, a book written about UPN and the WB (the two would merge to form The CW in 2006) by a WB insider. (I'll just stop from reiterating a lot of what I said in this comment from the "Caretaker" thread.) I wonder how many of those people made their way over to CBS, where, once again, someone's trying to base what amounts to a new network (CBS' streaming service) on a new Trek show.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:15 AM on August 8, 2018 [5 favorites]

"Hey, you remember that massive investment of time, effort, money, and talent that we made in an untried experiment that failed not once but twice? Let's try it again" - every executive, ever
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 1:46 PM on August 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

Time is a wheel, folks.

Endgame was not the ending. There are neither beginnings or endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was an ending.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:47 PM on August 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Interesting r/DaystromInstitute discussion: Janeway is not written inconsistently- she's just an inconsistent person
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:35 AM on December 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Had fun following this rewatch. The commentary here is what I always hope book clubs will be like (but never are, to my immense disappointment).
posted by bunderful at 8:05 PM on March 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

I just completed my own mostly-rewatch of Voyager, and although I've been a year+ behind these threads, I have enjoyed reading all of them and appreciate everyone who discussed them. I haven't been averse to adding my own comments well after everyone else in these threads, but I've done so rarely only because most of the time I found that someone else had already said what I was going to say — and had said many more insightful things that I had not considered on my own. ("Now you have something new to think about" — Kirk, STII:TWOK) That's true of the finale as well — I don't really have anything to add to what's already been said.

The discussion here has greatly enriched my viewing. Thank you all.

On a personal note, completing this means I can say once again that I've seen every episode in the franchise — something I was able to say from some point in my childhood, around the late 70s or early 80s, until the late 90s, when I stopped regularly watching VOY and ENT in their later seasons. Now, ~20 years later, I can make that claim again.

I'll follow mordax's example here and end with one of my favorite moments of the series. The one mordax quoted is one of mine as well, but here's another, from "Dark Frontier":

[Janeway has informed Seven that she will not be joining the team trying to get a transwarp coil from a partially-disabled Borg Sphere.]
JANEWAY: I'm not about to ask you to face the Collective in your present frame of mind.
SEVEN: The past several days have been difficult. But I must join the away team, and I assure you I will not make another mistake.
JANEWAY: I've made my decision, Seven.
SEVEN: If I don't go, this mission will fail.
JANEWAY: You sound awfully certain about that.
SEVEN: I know the Borg.
JANEWAY: And I know you. There's more to what you're saying. What's wrong?
SEVEN: Over the past two years, I have become familiar with the individuals on this vessel. Voyager is my Collective now. Your survival is important to me. I am willing to risk my own well-being if it increases our chances of success. Assign me to the away team. Please. (Janeway nods.) Thank you.

Here in Endgame, when Harry was making his "the journey is the point and saving millions of lives is worth taking longer to get home" speech, I half-expected him to quote "Voyager is my Collective now."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:00 AM on December 6, 2019 [3 favorites]

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