Star Trek: Voyager - Episode Guide - Season 1
Star Trek Guide has mentioned it before, but for no other ST series does it hold truer: ST series takes time to find their way, and the first season is typically hardly an exemplar of the given series’ final production run.
On the other hand, from our comfortable viewpoint in the 21st century, Star Trek: Voyager season 1 ultimately bears more similarity to season 7 than not. The colorless Chakotays, Harry Kims and B’Elanna Torreses of Voyager’s first episodes are pretty much what you get in season 7. Even more puzzling is the immediate introduction of a complex backstory involving a small Maquis warship and immediately installed the idea of integrating Federation and Maquis crews; these seemingly intractable issues are mostly blown away by episode four, season one.
About the best we can say for Voyager’s inaugural year is that a writer’s strike ultimately truncated the season, thereby limiting the obvious awkward growing pains. At just sixteen episodes, this is the shortest season since the animated series days.
Star Trek: Voyager season 1 – Is the first of many years’ worth of blunted potential.
1-2. “Caretaker” – It all begins with text (always a bad sign) which explains the story of the Maquis and their, likesay, uneasy relationship with the Federation. All this backstory, all well as characters from the Maquis band (e.g. Commander Chakotay, B’Elanna Torres, Seska) immediately take a backseat to introduction of Captain Janeway and her own Voyager crew. The ship is suddenly hurled 70,000 light-years from home, where they encounter not quite an Insane God!, but more of a Terminal God. The weakest of any inaugural Star Trek series episode. **
3. Parallax – The unsettled Voyager crew deals with a wacky time paradox, though much time is devoted to a subplot of Janeway choosing between B’Elanna and Lt. Carey. (Spoilers: Torres gets it.) ***
4. Time and Again – And another temporal paradox! Janeway and Lt. Paris are sent back two days into the past to a planet which is – you guessed it – two days away from Armageddon. Twisty-turny stuff that maintains the suspense. ****
5. Phage – Introducing the Vidiians, creepy organ-stealing dudes suffering from a nearly as creepy disease called the Phage. Neelix has his lungs stolen, yet stubbornly refuses to die. ***
6. The Cloud – Voyager enters a nebula which turns out to be a living organism. Unfortunately, Janeway et al had panicked and harmed the being. They repair it and move on. Really, that’s pretty much it. **
7. Eye of the Needle – The needle’s eye of the title is a tiny wormhole though which Voyager cannot return to the Alpha Quadrant, but does make contact with a Romulan ship there – but it’s not even that simple for the hard-luck Voyager crew… ***
8. Ex Post Facto – A murder mystery for Tuvok and whoa, does he kill it. (So to speak.) The accused is Paris, who was speedily convicted and given the trippy punishment of having to experience the victim’s death regularly for the rest of his life. ***
9. Emanations – A rather bizarre episode primarily about the burial rituals of a culture in which traditional dictates corpses to be swallowed by a vacule, which deposits them on nearby asteroids. ***
10. Prime Factors – The Voyager crew meets aliens who have technology that, in theory, might bring the ship back to the Alpha Quadrant. When Janeway is refused this technology – can’t whine about the Prime Directive, now, captain, when that’s key in about half the stories in seasons 2 through 4 – several members of the crew steal it instead. Tuvok is busted as one of these and begins a long tradition of seeing little consequence for his insubordination. ***
11. State of Flux – The Seska story arc takes off in this episode, heading at warp speed. The Doctor first outs Chakotay’s lover (we’re told of this descriptor a few episodes back; chemistry between these two is non-existent) as a Cardassian, while Tuvok deduces she’s also a Kazon spy. **
12. Heroes and Demons – “You know what would be great? An episode based on a holodeck simulation of Beowulf,” and no one ever said no to letting this happen. 0
13. Cathexis – One rule of Voyager: Any episode that in Chakotay’s spirit animals and/or ostensibly indigenous mumbo-jumbo figures is guaranteed to be an eye-roller. This one double down on the insipidity by playing up Neelix as well. *
14. Faces – The Vidiians, presumably to harvest twice as many organs, divide B’Elanna Torres into two separate entities, a Klingon and a human. Neither the ridiculous premise or Roxann Dawson’s career were done any favors by her interpretation of Klingon. 0
15. Jetrel – Neelix gets really really angry when a member of a warring species boards Voyager. *
16. Learning Curve – Tuvok trains four cadets, few of which we ever see again and none in any meaningful way, who just aren’t fitting in with Starfleet Regulations And Ideals. A good one for Tuvok groupies. ***