Section 1 of 2

Voyager, while traversing a region of space aptly named the Void, encounters two species never before seen. One is indigenous to the Void. The other, the Maelon, has been coming to the Void to deposit their industrial waste, thereby poisoning the aliens living in the Void. Voyager naturally becomes involved in the unfairness of it all and closes the Maelon's only way into the void -- the Vortex. But not before using it, of course, to get out of the Void and get back to a portion of inhabited space. (The Void? The Vortex? TPTB have outdone themselves with creativity this time 'round, haven't they?) Voyager exits the Vortex and soon, with the glimmer of Captain Janeway's tears as a backdrop, the crew once again sees the shining universe, teaming with lots of trouble to get into.

Section 2 of 2

A show about nothing. No, I am not talking about Seinfeld, but the season premiere of Voyager. And as such, this episode was pathetic. Had this been a mid-season episode, it would have been interesting, but the season premier? Of course, it is just a reflection of the last entire season.

One of the things that bothered me most about this particular episode was all of the 20th century earth slang used: the doctor saying to Tom "…does the phrase 'to be continued' mean anything to you?"; Neelix saying "I am laughing on the inside"; and Harry (in a staff meeting of all places) answering Chakotay by saying "Nada". This would NEVER have happened on TNG!

My first impression, after the episode was over, was that Captain Janeway's behavior was very un-Captain Janeway. Especially knowing her crew needed her, she would never have hidden herself away. Had Kes been onboard, perhaps Kathryn would have sought her advice, but since Jennifer Lien was not buxom enough for TPTB and the male 15 - 30 demographic… anyway, the Captain could have sought meditation with Tuvok or Chakotay or even discussed the situation with her supposed best friend/first officer/love slave (just seeing if you are paying attention). But hiding herself away and upsetting the crew? Never.

Overall, I rather enjoyed this episode, even though it was a stumble of a season premiere. One surprising note -- and a high point I might add -- Seven did not ride in on the silicon white horse and save the day nor were she and her perky costars present in each and every scene. Last season, I had forgotten that there were other actors on Voyager besides Barbie and her boobies and it was nice to become reacquainted with them (the other actors, not Barbie's boobies). Harry and B'Elanna actually had dialogue and Chakotay wasn't just the bridge ornament.

We also got to see a little more of Chakotay's devotion to Kathryn. Swallowing his feelings for Tuvok, he came to the Vulcan to ask him for help in monitoring his Captain and her odd behavior. Chakotay acknowledged that Tuvok knew her best and that he needed a little "vulcan clarity".

I also noticed that Garrak and Neelix seem to be suffering for the same affliction and symptoms. Let's hear it for originality. :::snerk:::

I very much enjoyed Harry's new concerto "Echoes of the Void", but was quite surprised that Tuvok didn't discipline him for playing his clarinet on the bridge. I was even more surprised that Tuvok stayed to listen. They must have really felt like they had nothing to do. Which brings me to my next point…now I realize that I have never lived on a starship, but the crew was ONLY in the Void for 53 days. That's not even two earth months. Why were they already stir crazy? They had over 600 more days to go. Had the crew never been on board, without shore leave, for 53 days? I think not! They were behaving like first year cadets. This brings me full-circle to my problem with Janeway sequestering herself in her quarters for as long as she had. She would never have left the crew become that restless.

When the ship first become dark, all I could think of was "Blackout" by YCD (if you haven't read this, you MUST! If you have, you are thinking dirty thoughts about now ). And then, when Kathryn was on the bridge proposing to single-handedly destroy the Vortex after Voyager was on the other side and then travel through the Void completely alone for 2 years, I thought that TPTB had read Sharon Nuttycomb's "Captain's Log" (another must-read).

General appearances/comments: Kate looked like she grew boobs for the first half of the episode only. Strangely enough, they didn't stick around for the second half. And, I do have to admit, that her hair looked a bit better, although still matronly, and her lipstick was a bit brighter. Tom's hairpiece looked a little more real and he seems to have lost the poundage that he picked up the last half of last season. I did notice that Jeri Ryan is still using the same constipated Borg voice. Hmmm…maybe she isn't getting enough fiber in her Borg diet? I am sure some may not agree, but I thought the Captain Proton thing was a little stupid. Nice touch with the black and white though. And, finally, I really enjoyed the "mutiny" scene at the end. At first, I thought that Chakotay should have taken Kathryn in her ready room (get your minds out of the gutter!) and told her then that the crew had another plan, but she had to see that they don't blame her for stranding them in the Delta Quadrant. At least TPTB didn't clobber us to death with the "peace, love, and save the environment" message.

Of course, as with every episode, TPTB aren't paying attention to anything but Boobie's bustline and there were a few inconsistencies or questions:

  1. When Chakotay tried to persuade Kathryn to join him on the holodeck (now why didn't he ask her to go for a boat ride through New River? Sheesh!), he mentioned that he had saved his holodeck rations. When did they start rationing holodeck time?
  2. During the blackout, Tom mentioned that the holodeck grid was frozen. If that is the case, how did Seven manage to disengage the safety protocols so that she could shoot the intruder?
  3. Also on the holodeck during the blackout, the holodeck went black, but Tom found a flashlight (20th Century earth style). If the holographic flashlight worked, why wouldn't holographic lights work? In other words, why did the holodeck go black?
  4. If the aliens living in the Void had lived there for millions of years and had adapted to the blackness as stated, why would they actually still have eyes that could see? Would they even be photosensitive?
  5. If the aliens were living in the void, where were they living? If there were no stars in the Void, then it must be awfully cold on the planets where they live.
  6. I was a bit puzzled when the doctor said that he had to get used to his own fear of nothingness. He said that when he was deactivated he had to get used to the "existentialism of it all" or words to that effect. His attitude sounded as if he was aware during the time when he was not active. This is not the case during "Living Witness".

J/C moment! Sort of. Maybe. Kathryn said to Chakotay "…no one I trust more than you…" While that wasn't the undying love and devotion that a good J/Cer hopes for, it will have to do for now.

Rating: Overall, the episode was ok. Not too much Boobie, the rest of the crew actually had lines, Boobie didn't save the day, and some of the scenes were very touching and/or amusing. BUT, there was no J/C (have you noticed that KJ and C have ZERO chemistry now?), so I can only give this episode a five of nine.