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Top 10 Episodes of Star Trek: Voyager

Posted on the 15 August 2013 by Weminoredinfilm.com @WeMinoredInFilm

Star Trek: Voyager premiered on the now-defunct UPN 18 years ago this past January.  It was a show of several firsts for Star Trek, the first to feature a female captain (Kate Mulgrew’s Catherine Janeway) and the first to air on a major network (as opposed to in first-run syndication) since the Original Series in the 1960s.  Its premise was promising – drop a Federation ship on the other side of the galaxy, force them to integrate their crew with a faction of ex-Federation rebels, and watch the compromises they must make on their 75-year journey home in an uncharted area of space with no Federation back-up.  However, in the face of its own challenging premise it blinked, never fully committing to the potential for conflict or morally compromised characters and instead offering lots of fluff (why so many time travel and holodeck episodes?).  Perhaps as a result, most of the characters were painfully dull (the less said about Harry Kim the better).  So, those characters who were genuinely captivating – Robert Picardo’s Doctor, Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine, and, to a lesser extent, Ethan Phillips’ Neelix – got all the best storylines.

As such, one could arguably do a list of Top 10 episodes of Star Trek: Voyager and just populate it exclusively with Doctor/Seven of Nine-centric episodes.  However, that would do a disservice to an ensemble cast show which ran for 7 seasons and 172 episodes.  Regardless of who the story was about, Voyager quite often managed to deliver freakishly entertaining hours of television.  They had a real knack for two-parters, particularly season cliffhangers, and seemed on occasion to suddenly remember the promise of their own premise.  Plus, yes, the Doctor and Seven of Nine were awesome.  Here are 10 amazing episodes of Voyager:


10) “Deadlock” (Season 2, Episode 21) 

Star Trek Voyager Deadlock Janeway_meets_Janeway

A.K.A.: The one where a nebula accident creates two separate Voyager ships and crews which overlap one another with only enough antimatter fuel to support one ship and crew.

Every now and again, Voyager would just go all in on an episode, devising a conceit which allowed the writers to do whatever the hell they wanted because they knew it would all be re-set at the end.  Here, the notion of there being two separate Voyagers allows them to kill off major characters (bye-bye, Harry Kim) because they’ve got a spare (damn, Harry should have just stayed dead) as well as reach a conclusion in which the bad guys kind of win but only against one of the sets of heroes.  However, that they were able to do so, have a scene in which Janeway talks to another Janeway, and work in a killer surprise ending without seeming like a big ole mess is quite the impressive accomplishment.

Check out a Trailer Below:

9) “Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy” (Season 6, Episode 4)

Star Trek Voyager Tinker_Tenor_-_The_Doctor_as_ECH

A.K.A.: The one where the Doctor’s new habit of daydreaming is misinterpreted by a covertly observing alien race resulting in a potential skirmish that only can be solved by the Doctor behaving as he normally only does in fantasy, i.e., the hero of the day.

To some degree, this one is a bit derivative of an earlier episode involving Barclay on The Next Generation, but here the potential of the premise of others being clued in on a fellow character’s outsized fantasies is maximized to its immense comedic potential.   Seriously, how can you not love an episode of Voyager where the ending has the Doctor staring down a bad guy from the bridge of the ship while Janeway feeds him his lines Cyrano-style?  However, it must be pointed out that the potato head-shaped bad guys?  Totally ripped off from Doctor Who‘s Sontarans.

Check out a Trailer Below:

 8) “Latent Image” (Season 5, Episode 11)

Star Trek Voyager Latent Image

A.K.A.: The one where the Doctor investigates why a portion of his memory has been blocked only to discover an ethical dilemma from this past.

Present from the pilot to the series finale, the Doctor evolved from a comedic presence with a knack for acerbic one-liners to a quintessential-Star Trek character striving to understand the nature of humanity and coping with/exceeding his own limitations.  ”Latent Image” is almost exclusively focused upon the Doctor overcoming the limitations of his programming, as he was never designed for the near-constant operation on Voyager.  So, when he suffers the equivalent of psychotic break the discussion emerges as to whether or not he even has the right to be granted the time to work it all out or if he still, at the end of the day, is just a computer program to be modified according to the needs of the actual living creatures on board.  The final scene involving the Doctor’s breakthrough is among Picardo’s finest acting on the show.

Check out a Trailer Below:

7) “Someone to Watch Over Me” (Season 5, Episode 22) 

Voyager Someone to Watch Over Me

A.K.A.: The one where the Doctor and Tom Paris do the Pygmalion/My Fair Lady/Pretty Woman/She’s All That thing with Seven of Nine, and the Doctor teaches her how to date while gradually and unwittngly falling in love with her.

The odd juxtaposition for a character whose costume meant to bring a video game or comic book heroine body-type to life is that Seven of Nine was just as chaste, if not more so, than everyone else.  Seven of Nine was assimilated into the Borg while still a 6-year-old girl and freed from the collective once an adult woman.  As such, she is basically constantly learning how to be an adult human (or, more accurately, refusing to learn).  ”Someone to Watch Over Me” is her first introduction to the process of human dating, and while the results are predictably funny (she practically breaks the arm of her date) the element of the Doctor falling in love with her is surprisingly sweet.  The B-plot involves Neelix acting as a diplomat to a visiting foreign minister played to great comedic effect as a bit of, well, a total dick by Kids in the Hall‘s Scott Thompson.

Check out a Trailer Below:

6) “Equinox Parts 1 & 2″ (Season 5, Episode 26; Season 6, Episode 1)

star trek voyager equinox_025

A.K.A.: The one where Voyager encounters another Federation starship who are also stranded in that region of space but have not held to Federation ideals the way Janeway and company have.

In science fiction, whenever you are the last of your kind or stranded on your own the sudden appearance of the too-good-to-be-true friend is usually never a good thing (see: the Time Lords on modern Doctor Who, the Founders to Odo on Deep Space Nine, the Reliant on Battlestar Galactica, or even the Kryptons in this summer’s Man of Steel).  Usually, this sudden mysterious other is simply used by writers as a dramatic foil to highlight just how easily our heroes could have become the bad guy.

Thus is the function of the crew of the USS Equinox to Voyager: the “there but for the grace of Captain Janeway go us” people.  However, it is an incredibly well done story featuring a surprisingly sinister turn from the Doctor, as the Equinox’s Doctor removes his ethical parameters and has him ruthlessly experiment on Seven of Nine.  In some way, this is Voyager’s answer to the Deep Space Nine episode “In the Pale Moonlight” in which the hero abandons once cherished principles for the greater good.  That one ends with the audience left to make their own judgement, but in the form of Janeway in “Equinox” the answer is clearly that once we abandon our ideals where do we stop?

Check out a Trailer Below:

5) “Blink of an Eye” (Season 6, Episode 12)

Star Trek Voyager Blink Eye

And, yes, that is Daniel Dae Kim from the new Hawaii Five-0

A.K.A.: The one where Voyager becomes trapped in orbit of a planet featuring a strange space-time differential whereby living beings on the planet live through years in what to Voyager passes as mere minutes.

Remember how cool it was in one of the classic The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” episode when an entire civilization of microscopic people grow on Lisa’s discarded tooth and come to worship her as their god?  Well, the Twilight Zone had done the same story years earlier with “The Little Men,”and “Blink of an Eye” is Voyager‘s take on the tale just minus the whole one party being physically larger than the other element.  In fact, it is kind of your standard “starship inadvertently violates the Prime Directive; oops, our bad” Star Trek story.  However, it is immensely enjoyable, and even features an interesting discussion of religion versus science.  It speaks to a people’s drive for accomplishment often being dictated by having something to reach for, in this case literally – they want to get to Voyager which to them is the mysterious object they’ve observed from their planet’s surface since the beginning of time.  

Check out a Trailer Below:

4) “One” (Season 4, Episode 25)

Voyager Jeri Ryan One

A.K.A.: The one where the crew is placed in stasis for an extended period of time while the ship navigates through a toxic region of space, but Seven of Nine and the Doctor (and eventually just Seven of Nine) are left awake/running to keep the proverbial lights on until the crew can be awakened.

This is Seven of Nine’s great “be careful what you wish for” episode.  She would seemingly be more comfortable isolated by herself with minimal interactions with others, given an important but routine task upon which to focus her efforts.  However, what proceeds is her gradual mental deterioration and realization that she, in fact, may be just a wee bit traumatized from her whole “I’ve been part of the Borg collective since I was 6-years-old” thing.  Who would have guessed, right?  As with prior Star Trek episodes featuring a character who is far from a reliable narrator, there are some rather enjoyable fake-out moments here, and arguably Jeri Ryan’s most dynamic performance.

Check out a Trailer Below:

3) “Scorpion, Part 1 & 2″ (Season 3, Episode 26; Season 4, Episode 1)


A.K.A.: The one where the show re-sets itself by introducing the Borg and Seven of Nine, with Janeway forced to make a series of ethically dubious decisions.

For 3 seasons, there was always the question hanging over Voyager‘s head, “What the hell are they going to do once they reach Borg space?” They, after all, were in the Deltra Quadrant, the Next Generation-established home of the Borg.  However, the answer Voyager provided to the question was so surprising in its willing to morally compromise Captain Janeway.  As it turns out, the Borg is actually getting their shiny metal asses handed back to them by a new alien named Species 8472.  That’s funny – Voyager happens to have a way to beat them as well as a need to be able to pass through Borg space cleanly.  What to do, what to do.  In Janeway’s case, she makes a deal with the devil, i.e., the Borg, and runs like hell at the time of their inevitable betrayal.  In so doing, she violates Federation ideals and sentences 8472 to death.  To make herself feel better about that, though, she rescues Seven of Nine from the collective, who really, really, really did not want nor ask for her help.  But, hey, that’s just the kind of gal Janeway is.

Check out the Final Scene Below:

2) “Hope and Fear” (Season 4, Episodes 26)

Star Trek Voyager Voyager Hope and Fear

A.K.A.: The one where the latest person with a too-good-to-be-true promises of a quicker way back to Earth is really plotting to exact a Borg-related revenge.

There are those Star Trek fans with the right amount of vast legal knowledge and free time to compose a legal case both for and against court marashalling Captain Janeway for her violation of Federation law while in the Deltra Quadrant. However, that is a judgment which would await her on Earth.  While still in the ass crack of the galaxy, she was usually heading one direction, leaving any of the consequences of her actions in the region behind her.  ”Hope and Fear” puts a face on the consequences in the form of Arturis, as played by Ray Wise (a.ka., the devil from Reaper).

He initially appears as just the latest in too good to be true plot devices which promise the crew a quicker return to Earth.  The big reveal is that Arturis holds Janeway directly responsible for the Borg having assimilated his people, since that would not have occurred had Janeway allowed species 8472 to defeat the Borg.  He functions to force Janeway to accept her responsibility in the scenario while also concluding Seven of Nine’s season long arc of finally coming to realize she does not actually want to be re-integrated with the Borg again.

Check out a Behind the Scenes Look at the Making of the Episode:

1) “Year of Hell, Part 1 & 2″ (Season 4, Episodes 8/9)

Star Trek Voyager Year Hell

A.K.A.: The one where a time-manipulating warlord named Annorax uses his time-warping weapon to restore his people’s lost empire and resurrect his dead wife and Voyager gets caught in the cross-fire, victims to the whims of seemingly random time shifts during a year-long standoff that brings them to the brink of destruction.

It seems fitting that Voyager’s best episode would be the one that ultimately lacks the courage of its convictions by hitting the giant magic re-set button at the end to erase all of its events from history.  However, like “Deadlock” from before you know where it is heading because at a certain point so many people have died you remember that you’d never heard anything about the show killing off most of its cast halfway through its run.  The ride to the end, though, is positively thrilling with absolutely nothing held back.  We get to see what Janeway is like when all the chips are down, and she is an admirable, Benjamin Sisko-caliber badass as it turns out (which we already knew from “Deadlock,” but this is that times 10).  She has multiple fantastic character moments with Tuvok and Neelix, but even the villain, Annorax, gets some layers via ethical discussion-heavy interactions with Chakotay and Tom.

“One Year I’d Like to Forget”:

Honorable Mentions (The Ones Just Outside the Top 10):

  • “Scientific Method” (Season 4, Episode 7) – Where a race of aliens are performing experiments upon the Voyager crew as if they were lab animals, but nobody knows it other than Seven of Nine and the Doctor.
  • “30 Days” (Season 5, Episode 10) – Where Tom Paris writes a letter to his father explaining how he ended up being confined to the brig for 30 days and demoted all the way down to a mere cadet as the result of a series of increasingly bad choices.
Those Are Mine, Here Are Some Others:
Check Out Our Prior Top 10 Lists for Other Stark Trek TV Shows:

So, what do you think, guys? Are you a fan of our picks, or are there other episodes you think should have made the cut? Let us know in the comments!

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