Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Voyager - Episode Guide - Season 6

It’s unfortunate for Star Trek: Voyager that by season 6 its viewing audience had dissolved to essentially only the more passionate devotees, because only here do the scriptwriters feel consistently comfortable with the material and resources available. As the production certainly realized that season 7 would be the final run for Voyager, a sense of getting closer to home of the Federation more directly influencing the Voyager crew’s lives was imparted.

Second-banana Reginald Barclay, along with Next Generation refugee Deanna Troi, gets some quality screen time in Voyager season 6 and some good ol’ Federation-based conspiracies poke up now and again. This season also brings us a re-sendoff for Kes and the seriously underrated classic “Blink of an Eye.” With a fantastic run of a half-dozen episodes at the end of this bunch, season 6 of Voyager could well be its strongest altogether.

1. Equinox, Part II – After unleashing the nucleogenic aliens on Voyager, captain Ransom and the Equinox crew escape with Seven aboard as well as Voyager’s version of the EMH program. As Janeway obsessively and single-mindedly pursues the Equinox, Ransom inversely becomes more humanized and thus regretful about his stunningly immoral stand. ***

2. Survival Instinct – This one’s sort of a cross between the TNG episode “I, Borg” and Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit. Three Borg units who were formerly part of Seven’s unimatrix have become separated from the great collective but remain enslaved to one another’s thoughts. ***

3. Barge of the Dead – When knocked into a coma, B’Elanna finds herself on the titular vehicle and ultimately in Gre’thor, a.k.a. Klingon Hell. It’s not nearly as badass as it sounds. ***

4. Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy – A seriously funny Doctor-centric episode features the EMH’s new penchant for daydreaming. Things go from humorous to hilarious when would-be invaders on a cloaked ship tap into the holographic matrix and believe the Doctor’s over-the-top heroism is real. ****

5. Alice – Alice? Who the f*** is Alice? In short, a shuttlecraft which has some strange telepathic qualities over the easily-obsessable man with a thousand hobbies, Tom Paris. **

6. Riddles – Tuvok is attacked by aliens whose plot is easily solved by Janeway et al, but Tuvok must recover psychically in ways sadly predictable for anyone who’s ever seen such an episode about a Vulcan character. **

7. Dragon’s Teeth – In fleeing an attack, Janeway lands Voyager on an alien planet where hundreds of humanoids are in stasis and hidden from the surface. ***

8. One Small Step – Not dissimilar to a Voyager version of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Chakotay, Paris and Seven check out a classic mysterious cloud which contains within bits of the Ares IV, a 22nd-century Mars mission. ***

9. The Voyager Conspiracy – Seven downloads too much information from the Voyager databases and becomes a conspiracist. This one is reminiscent of Twin Peaks, in keeping the viewer’s attention until he/she realizes that there is actually far less below the surface-level story here than he/she thought. **

10. Pathfinder – How do you feel about Reg Barclay and Deanna Troi of TNG? It will directly affect your enjoyment of this episode. In an effort to locate Voyager, Barclay creates holodeck versions of the ship and its crew to help advance his theories. Unfortunately, his superiors believe that Barclay is suffering again from holodeck addiction; of course, if Barclay were merely holo-addicted, this wouldn’t be an episode of Voyager now, would it…? ***

11. Fair Haven – Janeway falls in love with a holodeck program character and … oh, just skip it. *

12. Blink of an Eye – As though to make up for “Fair Haven”, the Voyager production team slated this, one of the single best Voyager episodes, directly thereafter. In a sort of reverse “The Inner Light”, Voyager is trapped in orbit around a planet on which, due to relativistic effects, times progresses tens of thousands of times more slowly. The planet’s entire history is affected by the continuous sight of Voyager for thousands of years until space travel is finally developed. *****

13. Virtuoso – The Doctor becomes an interplanetary celebrity when aliens without music hear him singing. Some good stuff here, but couldn’t the Doctor’s range have been displayed a bit beyond opera? Did not the Qomar appreciate the Beatles as well…? ***

14. Memorial – The title gives away the twist a bit, but if you’ve missed it, what follows is a strange story about an away team of non-favorites (Chakotay, Tom Paris, Harry Kim, Neelix) have flashbacks of a military exercise in which none of them ever participated – and the rest of the crew soon follows. ***

15. Tsunkatse – Can you smell what the Rock is replicating? B’Elanna, Chakotay, Paris and Neelix are huge fans of the ultra-violent combat sport Tsunkatse. It’s all fun and games watching combatants beat each other senseless – until Seven is kidnapped and forced to face off against 24th-century Dwayne Johnson, that is... ***

16. Collective – Chakotay, Kim, Paris and Neelix, a quartet who really should not have pushed their luck after hogging much screen time in the past two episodes, are captured and brought aboard a Borg cube manned by just five drones – all children. Not nearly as unwatchable as it sounds. ****

17. Spirit Folk – As though “Fair Haven” weren’t lame enough and holodeck-centered stories already rife in six years of Voyager, here’s “Spirit Folk.” The people of the quaint Irish town Fair Haven suddenly gain consciousness and … ah, come on. *

18. Ashes to Ashes – A Red Shirt so insignificant her death was not even shown during an episode returns in the body of a Kobali, an alien race that reproduces by genetically altering dead bodies. (How the hell did this species ever evolve in the first place?) And apparently she digs on Harry, which gives Paris another chance to nauseatingly run through the stupid list of Kim’s crushes through the years. **

19. Child's Play – The parents of one of the four Borg children taken aboard Voyager after the events of “Collective”, are found. The usual stuff about arguing where the lad “belongs” precedes a revelation about the boy’s origin. **

20. Good Shepherd – In an effort to prevent them from someday becoming Red Shirts, three, likesay, below-average Starfleet crew members are taken on an away mission with Janeway; naturally, things go south in a hurry. Also, the dude from Rage Against the Machine is in this one! ***

21. Live Fast and Prosper – Three con artists pose as Janeway, Tuvok and Chakotay and start pulling jobs based on Voyager’s ever-burgeoning reputation in the Quadrant. Often quite funny with a couple of nice twists. ****

22. Muse – B’Elanna Torres crash lands (no, really?) and soon “The Away Mission of B’Elanna Torres” is a highly successful play by the Bronze Age culture’s leading poet. Said poet pumps Torres for information to write more scripts while Harry Kim somehow takes two weeks to walk 200 kilometers (124.2 miles). Dude, seriously? Just 14¼ km/8.2 miles a day? Dude, I’m older than you and not as fit as a Starfleet officer and I can do nine miles in three hours. ****

23. Fury – Nobody’s favorite character returns to Voyager in greatly aged form. Obviously carrying some grudge or another, she proceeds to kick a lot of ass and travel four years back in time, so that we get double Kesses (?) as Old Kes attempts to change the past. Tuvok and Janeway solve the complex time-travel paradox in such fashion that we wonder why this kind of answer is deployed more often in the ST universe. Though the ending is well too pat, “Fury” is at least a more proper sendoff episode for Kes – no matter how one feels about her. ***

24. Life Line – More fun with Troi and Barclay! The Federation establishes a method of communicating massive compressed messages to Voyager once a month. So when ol’ Reg informs the Doctor that his creator, Lewis Zimmerman, is dying from a Phage-like disease, he insists that his program be compressed and sent in to help. In a Doctor-style take on TNG’s “Brothers,” Robert Picardo shines. ****

25. The Haunting of Deck Twelve – Finally, Neelix made not insufferable! When the Enterprise must power down for a few hours, Neelix regales the Borg children with a “ghost story” about a mysterious space-dwelling alien which – yep – still haunts Deck Twelve. Good stuff here is sadly missing an- “The End – or is it?” payoff. ****

26. Unimatrix Zero, Part I – Voyager’s producers heap old-fashioned bloody horror onto the pre-existent existential horror that is Borg. Seven discovers Unimatrix Zero, a shared virtual reality entered via dream state. Only a tiny number of “mutant” Borg drones can experience individuality in this manner, but Janeway sets the task of freeing/rescuing these few. Soon, an away team of Janeway, Tuvok and Torres board a Borg cube and are apparently assimilated…****