At a distance

Voyager

Now it's all over, we take a fresh look at some of the milestones on Voyager's journey

Below: 3 of the 10 turning points uncovered in the issue...

Feature by Tom Spilsbury

• From Cult Times #71

5

Seven Moves In

 

If there’s one thing that’s sure to shake up a TV series, it’s the arrival of a new character into the mix. Worf did it in Deep Space Nine, and more recently Josh did it in Big Brother 2. After three seasons, things were in danger of becoming a little too comfortable on board the ship, with even the most ‘un-Starfleet’ of the former Maquis happily accepted into Captain Janeway’s ‘family’.

Who better, then, than a former Borg drone to keep the crew on its toes? Although Chakotay would often voice his disagreements, he would ultimately always respect the chain of command on the ship. Having lived almost her entire life as a Borg drone, Seven of Nine had no problem in saying exactly what she thought of the captain’s decisions, and often did. Frequently proclaiming the captain’s latest conclusion ‘wrong’, Seven would take matters into her own hands to correct it.

This approach was really rather refreshing in a Star Trek series. While each of the previous show’s captains has been seen to frequently disobey orders, their crewmembers have rarely refused to follow orders unless they, or the captain, have been under some external force. The interesting thing about the relationship between Janeway and Seven was that Seven often managed to come up with far better arguments than the captain. Seven’s arrival also enabled the writers to begin a story arc as the former drone began her quest to reclaim her humanity. And she also received a lot of attention for being a bit of a babe, apparently.

Seven of Nine: takes matters into her own hands

Key episodes
›Scorpion II
›The Raven
›Someone to Watch Over Me
›Unimatrix Zero
›Human Error

Cult Times #71

8

The Hirogen

 

It is perhaps fair to suggest that, compared to its predecessors, Voyager didn’t provide the Star Trek universe with too many memorable alien races. For the most part, any new alien race encountered one week would be light years away and forgotten by the following week’s instalment. The original Trek had the Klingons, TNG had the Borg and DSN had the Jem’Hadar.

Voyager’s main antagonists were probably the Borg as well, but it would be unfair to completely overlook the Hirogen. Despite only appearing in a handful of episodes, they certainly made quite an impact. Originally introduced during a brief cameo in Message in a Bottle, the Hirogen were a race of hunters whose only purpose in life was to live and die for the hunt. The Hirogen episodes were a rather obvious allegory for bloodsports, but this provided the basis for some quite traditional Star Trek adventures, rather in the mould of the original series, which would tackle contemporary issues within a Science Fiction framework.

The Hirogen looked impressive too, standing well over eight feet tall with their heavy battle armour, although they would later seem to shrink a little to enable them to pose as Nazi officers in The Killing Game. That episode was one of Voyager’s holodeck romps, and the type of show the series always revelled in. It’s always fun to see the characters away from their usual surroundings, and it was great entertainment to see them playing the roles of the French resistance in the World War 2 simulation. Let’s hope we see the Hirogen again some day.

The Hirogen as Nazis

Hirogen menaces Seven

Key episodes
›Hunters
›Prey
›The Killing Game
›Flesh and Blood

Cult Times #71

10

Endgame!

 

Like TNG’s finale All Good Things, and DSN’s swansong What You Leave Behind, the final Voyager episode, Endgame, returns to the themes of the pilot episode and brings the series back full circle. With Voyager, there is one burning question to be answered: do the crew make it back to Earth?

Pilot episode Caretaker had left the crew stranded in the Delta Quadrant, and the opening scenes of Endgame show the ship returning to Earth. This being Star Trek, though, things are not entirely what they seem, and viewers will have to wait until the end of the episode to see if the adventurers really do make it back to home soil.

It’s not only a matter of whether the ship returns home, however, that brings the series back to its roots. Captain Janeway literally forces herself to re-evaluate that original decision that left her ship in its predicament. Endgame is a tour de force for Kate Mulgrew, who displays two very different sides to her character.

Janeway's end...

Sky One logoEndgame
UK Premiere, August 6

Cult Times #71

It’s amazing how much can be packed into 90 minutes of material, and each character is served well with a number of sub-plots. Seven of Nine takes her biggest step yet in exploring her humanity, while newly-weds B’Elanna and Tom prepare to become parents. For those with TNG and DSN withdrawal symptoms, the Klingons make a welcome cameo appearance, and of course there’s also the Borg. Endgame is effectively the culmination of a four-part story arc with the cybernetic lifeforms, beginning with Scorpion and continuing with Dark Frontierand Unimatrix Zero. Janeway gets another showdown with the Borg Queen, and the themes and plots of these previous stories are played out to a satisfying conclusion.

Cult Times #71More Voyager milestones in the issue, plus our Times Past critic on Voyager's home stretch and Enterprise's prospects

From Cult Times #71