Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Voyager - Episode Guide - Season 5

What’s that? You want even *more* Borg? Welcome to season 5 of Star Trek: Voyager! At least four episodes are devoted entirely to the cybernetic badasses – “Drone”, “Infinite Regress” and the two-part “Dark Frontier” – and rare is the Voyager season 5 episode in which Borg or Borg technology is a key plot device or character motivation.

Not that Star Trek Guide is complaining: This show had been wanting serious badassery to test Janeway et al for much of four seasons, and the Borg certainly bring that.

(Quite frankly, STG believes that the Borg are the single greatest alien race created for any of the ST series. Vulcans? Give me a break! Klingons? Baktag, wej naDev! Tribbles? You may have competition there…)

This season is also notable for its high number of character-focused episodes. In fact, of all the main characters, only Neelix is (justifiably) denied at least one solo shot in this season.

1. Night – Let’s get things started in Beckettesque fashion! Voyager attempts to cross “The Expanse” a region of empty space spanning thousands of cubic light years in all directions. Pretty excellent Beckettesque nightmare fuel here is ruined by Janeway’s completely out-of-character pouty behavior for the first two-thirds of the episode. ***

2. Drone – Though “Drone” begins with the well-worn trope of transporter malfunction, the episode’s remainder tells an interesting story of a Borg accidentally created with 29th-century technology. ****

3. Extreme Risk – While much of the Enterprise crew gets to work building a bigger, faster shuttlecraft, B’Elanna suddenly starts suffering from survivor guilt from news she received 11 episodes ago as thus takes up lots of extreme Klingon sports in the holodeck. **

4. In the Flesh – In the middle of nowhere in the Delta Quadrant, the Voyager crew stumbles upon an intensely detailed mockup of Federation headquarters in San Francisco. The actual revelation of who’s behind the recreation and why is questionable, though interesting enough. ***

5. Once Upon a Time – What’s the difference between Neelix and the officer’s daughter for whom he’s caring? One is an annoying little alien trying desperately to be cute, and the other’s a little girl. *

6. Timeless – All right, temporal paradox! Some 15 years in the future, Kim, Chakotay and Chakotay’s girlfriend who happily accepts the possibility of nullifying her own existence seek to change the past and thereby prevent Voyager’s destruction. Kim gets to act intense for a while before insufferably freaking out; good thing The Doctor’s on hand to balance the melodrama. And *Captain* Geordi LaForge? Nice. ****

7. Infinite Regress – What might have descended into a silly tale of Seven developing multiple personalities is actually quite watchable thanks to a brisk pace and Jeri Ryan’s outstanding devotion to the part. ***

8. Nothing Human – When B’Elanna Torres becomes attached (literally) to a very large symbiote, the Doctor creates a hologram of a Cardassian doctor who’s the galaxy’s foremost expert on exobiology. The Doctor soon suffers a crisis of conscience, however, when he learns that his new comrade is actually quite the war criminal… ***

9. Thirty Days – At an aquatic planet, Tom Paris suddenly declares that he loved reading Moby Dick and Jules Verne as a child. (Yeah, sure.) His involvement in helping save the world’s environment goes over the top and gets him busted. ***

10. Counterpoint – Voyager passes through a bit of space ruled by the Devore, a species especially paranoid about telepaths. Several times are a handful of crew members and picked-up refugees stowed away – and then one of the chief Devore law enforcement officers turns traitor. Some awesome cat-and-mous stuff with Janeway coming out the clever badass. ****

11. Latent Image – The Doctor discovers that he has operated on Harry Kim but has forgotten about doing so entirely; he’s also experiencing hallucinations starring an “Ensign Jetal” (cough cough Red Shirt ahem cough hack), a crew member he’s never heard of before… ***

12. Bride of Chaotica! – A fan favorite and a classic holodeck-based episode. Whilst Paris and Kim are playing another round of “The Adventures of Captain Proton,” Voyager appears to be attacked from within the holodeck. Soon, Janeway and The Doctor are enlisted to play parts in the black-and-white holo-serial – don’t ask; just enjoy the hilarity. ****

13. Gravity – Paris and Tuvok crash-land a shuttle (didn’t take long for one of these to hit DS9 season five) on a planet whose time moves at a different rate than the surrounding universe. They take refuge for weeks (relatively) against hostile aliens of all sorts with an alien named Noss. **

14. Bliss – Voyager suddenly begins receiving an incredibly unlikely stream of good news – but what’s that got to do with the lone captain figure with the distinctly Ahab vibe seen in the cold open? ***

15. Dark Frontier, part I – Janeway & Co. get gutsy as they make plans to steal Borg technology right off a cube. The plan works, except that Seven decides to rejoin the collective. ****

16. Dark Frontier, part II – The Borg Queen, last seen in Star Trek: First Contract remanifests in order to oversee Seven’s reentry into the Borg fold, though why the Borg ever figured Seven would play ball without getting properly re-assimilated remains a mystery. ***

17. Disease – Kim finally gets some, only to get a gnarly STD and/or fall in love, diseases which turn him into a regularly glowing whiner. (What? He was always a whiner? Oh.) Star Trek Guide is quite intrigued with those “differences” Kim and his Varro girlfriend mentioned, though… ***

18. Course: Oblivion – Star Trek: Voyager is often at its best when deep-diving into a bleak, Beckettesque plot. On the off-chance you haven’t seen this episode before, the mind-blowing twist about 20 minutes in involving B’Elanna’s apparent death is perhaps the finest in all of Star Trek history. The subsequent degeneration of things is equal parts engaging and existentially depressing. ****

19. The Fight – Comination head trip/holodeck trip for Chakotay, who must use dream-symbolism and memory patterns to communicate with aliens. A decent story whose unfortunate padding means the crew figures out the mysteries long before the audience. ***

20. Think Tank – An utterly unrecognizable Jason Alexander guest stars as a representative of the Think Tank, a small group traveling about the galaxy solving planet-sized problems. And when a large fleet of Hazari sets to hunting down Voyager, it appears the Think Tank can help – until they propose an untenable deal, almost an indecent proposal, if you will. ****

21. Juggernaut – The Voyager crew has another run-in with the Malons, those waste dumpers of the galaxy, when they encounter an ailing freighter packed with radioactive, volatile stuff. ***

22. Someone to Watch Over Me – As for episodes featuring Seven and The Doctor, Star Trek Guide prefers those with more wit and intrigue, as opposed to fluffy stuff like this, with Seven learning about dating. *

23. 11:59 – Janeway learns about one of her ancestors which completely changes the captain’s opinion. An attempt at breaking form, this one falls well short of Deep Space Nine episodes like “The Visitor” and “Far Beyond the Stars.” **

24. Relativity – All right, Captain Braxton of 29th-century Starfleet is back! The time-travel authority hurriedly recruits Seven (several times, as it turns out) to find terrorist or terrorists who will destroy Voyager. Interesting stuff, but one question: How did Braxton remember his 30 years trapped in the 20th century when Voyager helped wipe out that timeline altogether? ****

25. Warhead – An Enterprise away team discovers – and The Doctor takes a quick liking to – a sentient robot which turns out to be a rather single-minded space-traversing weapon. ***

26. Equinox, Part I – Voyager’s path comes across that of the Equinox, another Federation ship accidentally brought into the Delta Quadrant by The Caretaker. The Equinox is a science vessel reduced to half its already small crew immediately upon entering the quadrant currently, the ship is relentlessly under attack from “nucleogenic” aliens. A disturbing realization is made about Equinox’s operations, and the aliens invade the Enterprise as well as the Equinox… ***