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Star Trek: Voyager
It's not a character or plot arc, but a single episode. Yes, one episode is so bad, it has its own folder within a show subpage.
The real problem with this episode was that it occurred before Voyager found a way to communicate with the Federation. All Janeway had to do was put one volunteer on the transwarp shuttle with the Doctor's newt-mutation-curing hypospray and send them back to Starfleet HQ to tell them what was going on. Instead, the whole transwarp shuttle was ditched and never spoken of again.
Or better yet, scale the transwarp drive up, and send the whole damn ship back to Earth with the Doctor in command (so he can administer the hypospray antidote upon arrival, or at least instruct others to do so). Problem solved!
Or even if it wasn't possible to create a man-portable version of the cure (it is, but bear with me) the Doctor, with limited research on the subject and comparatively limited tools, took no more than a day to cure it. Starfleet Medical, with state of the art equipment, the brightest doctors in the Quadrant, their own EMH programmes and full access to the Doctor's research should have been able to cure the mutation both independently and on a completely superior time scale.
It gets worse. There was nothing stopping the crew from wiring the engine into their ship, accelerating to Warp 9.9997283-whatever, getting home in about a week, and not having to worry about mutations at all. It also doesn't help that this episode forgets the rules that govern how warp drive works. For the record, going to Warp 10 after changing the dilithium is roughly equivalent to flying a nuclear submarine to the Moon after throwing in some new Phlebotinum control rods.
Weird math: Warp 9.999 period (or whatever the speed of Borg Transwarp is) makes it a few months voyage from the Delta to the Alpha Quadrant. Warp 10 means you occupy every point in the entire universe at once.
That's not so weird; it's an asymptotic relationship (where X approaches Y forever without actually reaching Y). The approach to the speed of light is like this in actual relativity theory (the crossover point being that point at which time is reversed for the traveler). Warp theory probably operates on similar lines, where crossing Warp 10 leads to the whole simultaneous occupation of every point in the universe. My question is why a small ship like Voyager, with a limited staff of non-specialists, is able to make a breakthrough that nobody in the Alpha Quadrant could. Also, since communications move much faster than the vessels themselves, why isn't Starfleet's every data transmission receiveable at every point in the universe?
No one in the Alpha Quadrant had the super-dilithium, which was the only reason it worked. As for communications, data is sent through subspace, so it doesn't obey normal laws of relatively. Warp drive doesn't push the vessel entirely into subspace, so they can't go nearly as fast.
Super Dilithium is a completely ridiculous concept. Dilithium is similar to the fuel in your car - using premium unleaded instead of Walmart grade unleaded would of course improve your car's efficiency. However, what would happen if you were to fill your car up with rocket fuel?note Not quite (and boy is this getting geeky): the closest equivalent to dilithium crystal in a car is the carburettor, in that it brings the fuel components (petrol, air) together in a way that allows them to react. It isn't a fuel, it's the catalyst for the fuel's reaction. So it's more a case of "what if you fitted your car with a carburettor that made all of the fuel burn with no waste"... Super Dilithium is the same thing. How, in the realm of all that is sane, could you equip a shuttle designed to handle no more than warp 4 (slower than the NX-01 remember) with the ability to travel at the speed of infinity without blowing it up? This has even been shown in every single episode previously when a starship reaches maximum speed - the warp core begins to light up like a Christmas tree.
This was actually shown to be a problem in the simulations Paris, Torris and Kim run before the experiment (the shuttle was ripped apart in the opening scene), and they talk about making several modifications to the shuttle to compensate.
The shuttlecraft environment is already optimized for humanoid lifeforms. Why would accelerated evolution in that same environment result in newt-like creatures who are de-adapted from their surroundings?
Even by the standards of Star Trek in general this episode pretty clearly proved that few, if any, people involved actually understood what evolution is. Not only is evolution not something that happens to a single individual, evolution occurs over many generations. Even among some kinds of insects that evolve in a relatively quick manner you aren't going to see this.
One of the most outrageous claims is when Tom and Belanna claim they are trying to break the Warp 10 barrier. Warp 10 is infinite speed. Wouldn't you technically be going beyond the speed of infinity?
That's the biggest problem with the episode—which is really saying something. There's no threshold to cross because infinity is a mathematical concept, not a real number. That's really not an esoteric bit of information—most juniors in high school could probably tell you that—so one really has to wonder the mistakes in this episode were just a case of something really obvious slipping through the production process, or the production staff was just that contemptuous of the audience's intelligence.
The constant search for deuterium in the first few seasons. Deuterium is an isotope of HYDROGEN and one of the most common isotopes in the universe.
The ship, according to supplemental materials (though it may have been mentioned in passing during the show), has a 'Bussard/Brussard' Ram Scoop that collects the free floating hydrogen isotopes the ship passes through. In short, travelling through space nets you hydrogen, and deuterium.
Their technology level makes it easy to take any hydrogen form and make deuterium, a fact ignored for the sake of plot.
Almost every time Janeway talks about the Prime Directive or Starfleet protocols. One week, she's willing to kill the entire crew to stick to them; the next week, she's willing to kill the crew to violate them, though those weeks she won't admit that's what she's doing. We are more than halfway through the series (at the episode "Equinox") before she will admit to even breaking it once! No wonder The Doctor kept a log of all her questionable command decisions.
Vidiians. Oh, Vidiians. You're a warp capable species with advanced medical technology and the ability to split B'Elanna Torres into a full (but dying) human and a living (but barely sentient) full Klingon. So... the Delta Quadrant, especially the piece of it the Vidiians are in, is at the ass-end of space, with plenty of dumb, defenceless races. And you need to harvest organs to sustain yourself against the ravages of the Phage... so, who do you go after to get those tasty organs? One advanced starship with about a hundred people on it - when there are planets full of people who haven't even achieved space flight or who are pacifists! You should be setting up shop there, doing some abductions, and then you're set. You don't even need to chase anyone... but no, you go after Voyager. The only reason for this would be that Klingons seem to have some natural immunity to the Phage; but in that case, as B'Elanna could be the cure, why not just get a fleet together and go after what is possibly the most important thing TO THE SURVIVAL OF YOUR SPECIES, instead of half-assing it a few times? (She's the only Klingon in the Delta Quadrant, after all...)
If the Vidiians are so advanced, then why don't they just go to Janeway, ask for a pint of blood and some stem cells, and manufacture the needed organs and antibodies themselves? The Doctor did this in another episode when he manufactured antibodies from B'Elanna's baby to cure a Klingon plague. Then again, knowing the writing on Voyager, this would be the time when Janeway would stand up and insist that giving the Vidians even one dead skin cell of any crew member would be violating the Prime Directive and upsetting the balance of power in the Delta Quadrant.
It gets worse: "Lifesigns" indicates that there are some Vidiians that aren't infected with the Phage... But the Vidiian doctor who is the guest star of that episode and who is clearly infected was sent to treat an outbreak in one such colony. As SF Debris pointed out, haven't these people heard of quarantine?
It could have been simple. The Vidiians are warp-capable; the Prime Directive doesn't apply to them. Voyager's medical database probably contains complete information about all Alpha Quadrant sentients, including Klingons. Send the Vidiians the relevant information, and they can work out a cure for themselves. In return, Voyager gains a desperately needed ally with real power in the Delta Quadrant!
Problem is, nobody at Paramount (particularly during Voyager) seems to be able to agree on what the Prime Directive actually means. Half the time they do apply it to warp-capable races. This is one of the reasons SF Debris is convinced Janeway is a schizophrenic.
Voyager is a small ship, far from home, slightly overcrowded depending on how many redshirts have been killed off, and often low on resources. For much of the series, there is exactly one child on board, a child whose mother was pregnant before they got stranded. Yet, when two named characters get married and decide they want to have a baby, there is NO discussion of how this will affect the rest of the ship or why, if breeding is allowed, NOBODY else on board has done it in seven or eight years.
This is mentioned previously in "Elogium". Within a year of landing in the Delta Quadrant, it suggested that onboard fraternization among unnamed crew members (as well as Neelix and Kes) was already occurring. Kes could have become a mom then if that fertility period was real (which we'll never know). Whether the matter was usually kept off-screen simply because no members of the command crew were in mating relationships in the meantime, or because Federation crewmen were planning their parenthood a degree more than others, is a serious question, though.
The pilot and first two-parter, "Caretaker":
An enemy ship disappears in what is one of the most dangerous regions in space. They couldn't have been destroyed, because there was no power signature left. What does Voyager do? They fly through the same super-dangerous plasma-storm (even though they know the Maquis aren't in the plasma storm anymore). WHY? You have faster than light engines - you can fly around it! (Then again, their flying through is required by the Anthropic Principle.)
Starfleet hires the guy who was with them for less than a single mission. For some reason, Starfleet assumes that he can now delve into the mind of all the Maquis and know where they headed. And why did they need someone who had experience with the Maquis to tell them that they would most likely be heading to a place where they can live?
Probably just the excuse they came up with to get the Admiral's son out of jail.
That actually makes sense. Voyager has a layover on DS9, why wouldn't they just take one of the station's officers, or even better, just hire a former Bajoran Resistance fighter who would know the Badlands as well as, if not better than Tom Paris.
A spacefaring race of desert dwellers are introduced who use water as currency because it is so scarce. On planets with oxygen-rich atmospheres. While powering their spacecraft with fusion reactors that run on hydrogen. Did they lose the recipe?
No, they never had it in the first place, seeing as how they only acquired it by overthrowing their enslavers.
Seven of Nine says of that race later:
"They were deemed unfit for assimilation."
Considering that she also said that Neelix's race, the Talaxians, made "excellent drones," that is beyond harsh. On par with what the Borg tell you in Star Trek: Elite Force multiplayer, that "your assimilation would regress us."
Janeway had the Caretaker station destroyed, rather than using it to get home and having it blow up afterward, simply because the Anthropic Principle required that they forget that time bombs even exist.
There was no time to do that because Voyager was about to be destroyed by Kazon and Tuvok points out the Array would have needed several hours to boot up without the Caretaker (and that was before a Kazon ship crashed into it). This point is pointed out once a month, but the moment anyone replies, someone gets the idea to remove both the reply and the original post, because the original "wasn't a wallbanger". Instead, the wallbanger should be that the staff apparently forgot they undercut their moral dilemma in the first place, and instead constantly treated it like Janeway had a choice between destroying the Array and saving the Ocampa or getting her crew home when the Array would realistically have been a lost cause. What they should have done was follow up on the things that were within her power, like potentially abandoning her mission and some of her crew to get the Caretaker to send her home before he died, or when a Kazon ship crashed into the Array, thus disabling the self-destruct and who knows what else, consider negotiating with the Kazon.
In "Time and Again", why did Paris and Janeway join the fighting outside the power plant? They have never even heard of the government of the planet, they are trying to stay as anonymous as possible, and they are afraid of altering the timeline. Yet the second they see a police holding off a riot, with the police remaining calm and trying to avoid harming civilians, they jump in and start punching them.
Their questionable decisions are much worse than that. The two of them know that the civilization is about to be wiped out by their own energy source, but deliberately make no effort to warn anyone of the impending global massacre. At least Paris wants to warn them, Janeway just holds to her holy 'Prime Directive' even in an instance where no matter what their interference does it could not possibly be worse than the destruction of all life on the planet. This character is so obsessed with the Prime Directive that she is fully willing to watch all life on the planet be wiped out. How exactly did she make admiral again?
The infamous Physics-defying pickup truck from "The 37's". Voyager comes across a 1936 pickup truck just floating through outer space. They beam it aboard and discover that:
There's still oil in the crankcase, water in the battery & radiator, and gas in the tank.
It starts right up as soon as someone turns the key in the ignition. There's still electricity in the battery. Sealed batteries don't last much longer than a few years if they go unused.
The lousy AM radio picks up a distress signal through atmospheric interference that none of Voyager's sophisticated communication equipment can pierce.
Torres can't identify cow manure even with a tricorder. Have cattle gone extinct in the Federation?
As if that weren't bad enough, it turns out that the owner of this brand-spanking-new truck was a poor black sharecropper who (along with a bunch of other people) was abducted from Earth... in 1937. Think about it. That was an age when rural areas still used mules.
In "Memorial", not only did Janeway not destroy a grossly unethical memorial that traumatized countless millions, but she also ordered that memorial repaired. At least she put up a warning beacon.
That's because it's a memorial to a Genocide. It's the only remains of the genocided culture, so destroying it would be destroying a priceless artifact. Nonetheless, what were the designers of that thing thinking?!
Remembering a genocide is all well and good but that DOES NOT in any way, shape, or form justify the mind-rape of innocent people. Those people could have just set up a plaque as a memorial but they deliberately went with the mind-rape machine, losing any sympathy they could have gained.
What's worse is that we don't even know if it's a true and accurate portrayal of historical events. It could be, but we don't know. Essentially a bunch of assholes decided to force all passers by to experience their version of events and be traumatised by it. The only thing that monument deserved was a photon torpedo strike.
In "Nothing Human," the Doctor saves B'Elanna's life with the help of a hologram modeled after an infamous Cardassian doctor. The Doctor later decides to delete this hologram, a hologram that appeared just as sentient as the Doctor himself!. The Doctor also deletes all the data that saved B'Elanna's life in the first place, condemning to death anyone else who gets into that situation.
It was far stupider for B'Elanna to refuse the treatment because of its source. The doctor did the right thing by ignoring her wishes. But there was no reason to delete the medical information that could be used to save more lives. Sure, the way the information was gotten was terrible, but throwing it away isn't going to help the Bajorans who died.
Since the medical problem the Doctor was trying to fix involved a symbiotic alien that had attached itself to B'Elanna for survival, why did no one point out to her that refusing treatment (what she wanted to do) meant condemning them BOTH to die? This was a sentient being we're talking about!
The creature's relationship with B'Elanna was parasitic, not symbiotic - the benefit was purely one-sided. Expecting anyone to empathise with their attacker in B'Elanna's situation - let alone a half-Klingon who has never seemed like the "forgive and forget" type - is not going to get the result you're looking for.
The Cardassian here is clearly meant to represent Nazi doctors. Slight problem: the results of hideous Nazi experiments regarding decompression were vital in the early stages of space programs. Similarly unpleasant experiments revealed a great deal of information about hypothermia. None of this data was simply discarded. One would imagine a show about spaceships would try to remember something like that.
Also could have represented Unit 731, a department of the Japanese research and development military branch that also did terrible things. They weren't prosecuted by the US in exchange for copies of the info they learned, both medical advances and weapon related. Around 450 thousand people were killed by them.
Of course, in both cases, a lot of people who did really horrible things were given passes in exchange for their data, the vast majority of which turned out to be completely worthless. Yes, there were some bits of useful information scattered in there, but for the most part, randomly torturing people For the Evulz doesn't produce magical medical breakthroughs. Which is not to say that what useful information they DID find should be discarded, just that a lot of people got away with more than they should have.
This isn't the real Crell Mosset — it's a HOLOGRAM of him. Though he has some of the sideways beliefs of the original Crell Mosset, he is not Crell Mosset any more than the Doctor — um, Voyager's official EMH — is Lewis Zimmerman. Crell Mosset's hologram doesn't even have the memories of the atrocities the real Mosset committed; and the ill-gotten data was well-dispersed, as it was already in Voyager's database. Whether to use the hologram should have been obvious. The real ethical question at hand was whether to delete Mosset's program after fixing B'Elanna; but the episode treats that as an easy decision and fixing B'Elanna as the difficult one.
It's actually even stranger. If the hologram version could be created with the knowledge of how to treat her that should mean that the information is already in the ship's computers. In other words, the Doctor should already be fully aware of how to handle it and wouldn't need to make a holographic version of Crell, or at the very least could just download a copy of the manual into his database. There is literally no reason for any of this to happen.
And the Dethroning Banger for the episode is... the holo-consultant points out ALL of this! He himself tells the Doctor that HE'S NOT REALLY MOSSET, he's just a representation of him! Hell, the only way it could have been worse is if the hologram pulled a Tuvix and desperately pleaded for his life. Then again, that didn't even work for Tuvix, and the remaining crew liked Tuvix better than the crew members he briefly replaced.
Also, they managed to invert Take a Third Option by taking the worst of both choices - use the data that B'Elanna was morally opposed to, and then delete it so that it can't help anyone else who has different moral standards!
How about the disturbing implication from all this, that their computers can create a fully sapient individual with his own personality quirks and desires (Crell wishes to write a paper on the whole parasite matter with the Doctor for example) which can then be immediately deleted permanently with a single verbal command. Even computers today usually have an "are you sure?" before you erase a file for good.
There's also "Prey". Dying to protect 8472 would have been dumb enough; but Janeway wanted the crew to die for that species when they knew that 8472 was going to die no matter what they did. That's a Senseless Sacrifice. Up til then, Seven had tried to destroy Voyager many times. Janeway always forgave her. On this occasion, Janeway tried to destroy the ship, Seven saved the ship, and Janeway never forgave her.
Making this more stupid, Star Trek Online reveals that 8472 has become a major threat to everyone in the alpha-quadrant now that their hat is infiltrating governments and manipulating them. Helping them might very well have doomed the entire Federation and GALAXY because 8472 could cripple any defensive measures while simultaneously using powerful tech to kill EVERYONE.
In "The Cloud", the ship is running low on power. Why, then, are they still using holodeck programs?
This is one of those "the answer just brings up further stupidity to question" issues. It's addressed on-screen at some point that Voyager's holodecks have an entirely separate power source that can't be tied into other systems on the ship. This is actually the Trope Codifier for Voodoo Shark.
Janeway refuses to let two un-enlisted people off the ship before flying into the belly of a space monster. What would be wrong about letting nonessential personnel off-board before committing a mission that could result in death if it doesn't increase the risk for anyone?
An odd episode of Voyager that is otherwise good, "Before and After," features an elderly Kes somehow rewinding through her life the present Kes having her life flash before her eyes from the wrong direction. Her species only lives to about nine years, so this avoids any major set changes; her species had unexplored mind powers, so precog was never ruled out; and her knowledge of the future leads her to act on it and change it, which is why we don't see most of these events later in the series. Not bad - no worse than most things involving Mental Time Travel. But it hits wall-bangingly stupid when it becomes clear that Kes apparently married Tom Paris and they had a child together. This child apparently grows up on the Ocampa schedule (read, really fast) and then marries. Who does she marry? Why, Tom Paris's best friend and near-brother, Harry Kim.
There's a bigger problem. At the end of "Before and After," Janeway heads off to debrief Kes on everything she learned about the Krennim. In the "Year from Hell" arc, when the Krennim DID show up, they completely ignored "Before and After" and acted as though they never heard of the Krennim, nor that they had had warning that there would be a Year from Hell.
There's another problem with this episode, though it's a bit complicated. Less than a year after it takes place, Kes ascends to a higher plane of existence and uses her near-godlike telekinetic powers to throw Voyager ten thousand light years closer to home as a sort of "thank you" for all of their years of friendship. This happened before "Year In Hell" and directly because Kes chose to leave the ship. Without that act, Voyager probably should not have reached Krennim space in Kes's lifetime.
In TNG, there was a solid episode, "The Measure of a Man," where Data is the focus of a legal dispute - his status as a sentient being is the crux of the episode, and if he loses, he'll be disassembled and studied by the mandatory Jerk Ass scientist who sees him as a an object, not a person. (Not that Dr. Pulaski ever got slapped for that kind of behaviour — onscreen...). The episode ends with what should be a precedent of recognising Data as a person. Voyager seemed to rather enjoy the issue of holograms in later seasons, which led to a similar situation to Data's in "Author, Author". Given that Data and The Doctor are both artificial beings who are demonstrably intelligent and sentient, it seems logical that an enlightened, forward thinking society like the Federation would thus give The Doctor a free pass... Logic doesn't enter into it, though. The Doctor's case is settled on other grounds, leaving his personhood undecided. Later, a whole group of EMH Mark Is are shown working in a mine, all of whom could potentially gain the level of awareness that The Doctor has — so it looks like EMHs are de facto non-persons. We aren't supposed to be happy about that, mind you — but how did things get so dark in the Federation in less than 14 years?!
It makes perfect sense that Data's established sentience doesn't constitute precedent in the Doctor's case. Data is unique, autonomous, self-sufficient, and created by an independent inventor as something between a work of art and a son. He was built specifically as a new kind of lifeform, fully intended to live his own life and make his own choices. The Doctor was designed as a tool which was never supposed to become sentient, is a familiar piece of equipement to Starfleet personnel (and he's a hologram, which they're used to interacting with as non-sentient human analogues), exists in infinite copies, is dependent on Starfleet computers to exist, and can legitimately be said to belong to Starfleet (where Data cannot, and he owes them only as much as someone like Tasha Yar, whom they also rescued from a failed colony). The situations are hardly the same. Data should definitely come up in the discussion, but there are a lot more obstacles and complications for the Doctor than there were for Data (Data's personhood is a lot harder to deny and doesn't require them to change anything except their attitude toward him) and the implications are greater.
That one might be handwaved as Data's trial being a military tribunal, which would likely not be useful as precedent in a civil dispute.
Federation copy-right Law could have been used to Hand Wave this Wallbanger from "Once upon a Time", but wasn't. Flotter is a character from a holodeck game. Neelix wants to give Naomi a Flotter doll. Harry programs the replicator by memory; he played the game 10 years ago. The computer already knows what Flotter looks like.
The holodeck as common tech should be only about twelve years old right then. In the first two seasons of TNG, every time we saw a character go into it, they were like "Wow, I've never seen anything like this before!" But at the end of this episode, Janeway says that she too had played the Flotter holoprogram, and it is clear that she means in her childhood. She has been in the fleet long enough to work her way up to captain, and does not look young... At best, her remembering a holodeck program from her childhood makes about as much sense as saying "Remember when you sent that Tweet after Bucky Dent hit his home run off of Mike Torres in the 1978 playoff game, and I texted you that we should celebrate by buying new leisure suits from eBay?"
It gets stranger. The EMH got into this because he had written a holonovel and wanted to take it back for revision, and his publisher was refusing because he wasn't a person. (The publisher would've deserved the libel suit it would've eventually gotten if it had won.) The Federation did not declare the EMH a person, but they did say that he is legally an artist and thus has copyright control over his work. And you thought applying the Fourteenth Amendment to corporations was bad.
Another form of Wallbanger in this episode was the existence of copyright at all. Star Trek economics works on post-scarcity production, meaning that there is no private ownership. So why does copyright still exist if information is one of the post-scarcity resources we have right now? If anything, a society that prides itself on freedom and the free exchange of information like the Federation should have laws against trying to restrict the copying of data!
Even in post-scarcity, people may still want creators & inventors given proper credit and recognition.
And the saddest part is, Picard's biggest argument back when he was defending Data was that declaring Data non-sentient would set a bad precedent! (More on this below.)
In a previous episode, some living deuterium goop replicated Voyager's crew because they wanted sapience. That's all well and good. Then comes followup episode "Course: Oblivion", where the writers only seem to remember the words "shapeshifting goop" from the original script. To elaborate, the same living goop somehow replicates a fully functional, warp capable, EMH-equipped, fifteen deck, 700,000 metric ton anti-matter poweredstarship. And no, they didn't build it, the deuterium goop literally formed itself into a working starship. *BANG* Another point is the replicants themselves. The first two replicants copied didn't know what they were at first, but the Harry Kim replicant caught on. After the entire crew is replicated, they clearly realize what they are since they don't seem pissed Voyager is abandoning them. Then, against all logic, this crew of replicants, including the original Kim replicant, forget they're replicants. Furthermore, it was a point that the original replicants could only breathe the totally inhospitable vapor that passed for atmosphere on their planet, yet these replicants go around breathing human air like it's nothing. Then they go back to breathing an approximation of the death air with no transition. *BANG BANG* The episode didn't even have any point, either. The replicants somehow built a spiffy new warp drive that killed all of them due to radiation harmful to their kind, ended up flying back to find Voyager, and died before they could make it. It amounts to a footnote in Janeway's logs.
Then there's the deeply racist "Tattoo." Do we have to have Chakotay's Native American heritage rubbed in and given reality this way? It was skewered rather marvelously by SF Debris (link) by transferring the plot to a Deep Space Nine episode about Sisko, with the aliens helping black culture. It ends with "Offended yet?"
This episode has some Mind Screw in it, but here goes: Chakotay is a descendant of a South American Indian tribe who relocated en masse to a planet which, as of the start of Voyager, is in Cardassian space. He had set his cultural heritage aside before entering Starfleet before entering the Maquis, but he owns and carries a medicine wheel anyway. In this episode, he is brought back to the religion of his people by the deities of that religion and goes on a vision quest. His religion is treated as real and true - only people of his heritage can fully subscribe to it, but it has power behind it. Even the Bajoran Prophets were shown to be Sufficiently Advanced Aliens before they were treated as gods; there is no such unmasking here. And his doing this quest is plot-critical — it's this or coma, pretty much.
It says his ancestors had no culture until the aliens gave it to them. Human beings create culture by virtue of being human beings — we couldn't stop doing it if we wanted to. But, for these people to have a complex and true religion, it has to have come from aliens?! And why is no one on the ship even tempted to go after these beings for what they did to these people? If the Q had tried that on a civilization and gotten caught, then there would be hell to pay...
"Good Shepherd" (an analogue to TNG's "Lower Decks") involves three minor crew members who are taken by Janeway on a mission in order to become more productive members of Voyager. The first is Mortimer Harren, who has five degrees in theoretical cosmology but slacks off at a sensor station at the bottom of the ship. The second is Tal Celes, a sensor analyst who can't do 24th century math to save her life. The third William Telfer, a hypochondriac who avoids every away mission by complaining to the doctor. Instead of simply switching the first two crew members around, and after blatantly ignoring the advice given to her by Seven, she elects to take all three people (who have never been on an away mission before) to investigate an anomaly - pretty much the only consistent source of danger in the show. Really, Janeway?
Even better, the episode portrays Mortimer Harron (the man with the cosmology degrees) as the villain of the episode. That's right, a character who calmly explains to Janeway and his fellow crewmembers that his life was destroyed because of the main cast, is stuck in a position that he has no love for whatsoever, and happens to be the only character in the episode who acts in a sensible manner (he fixes the engines, gives logical theories and almost sacrifices his life to save everyone else) is shunned by a paranoid hypochondriac and a woman who can't even do her job properly. What.
At one point, an unknown lifeform beams aboard the Delta Flyer and begins interfacing with the ship's systems, which causes massive power fluctuations. Janeway attempts to reason with it (which doesn't have any effect), before Harron pulls out a phaser, killing it and stopping the drain on the ship's systems. Janeway then proceeds to severely admonish him, saying that the creature could have been friendly. At no time does she bother to take into account that the creature couldn't understand her and was actively threatening their lives. At best, the creature would have sapped all the power out of the Flyer (which would have killed everyone onboard due to a lack of life support), and at worst, it would have destroyed the ship, or at the very least made the atmosphere unbreathable. Yet, the audience is supposed to be on Janeway's side as she chews out an ensign who just saved the ship from certain destruction because she's playing fast and loose with the Prime Directive... why?
A little bit of extra stupidity: Janeway's rationale in this whole thing is that it will help them become more productive, but this flat out will not work as she planned it. Mortimer Harron was never motivated to change to a more productive job. This isn't going to change his mind. Tal's problem wasn't motivation but skill — she simply did not have the proper knowledge to do her job, and this would not teach her. Finally, William's problem is psychological, and the only reason he's "cured" is because he's attacked by one of the aliens. In other words, in order for Janeway's plan to work, she had to risk their lives. Scaring someone straight is one thing, but damn Janeway, that's harsh.
"Human Error." Seven, in one episode, changes from her normal love-is-irrelevant self to being in love with Chakotay. This was never reset. They never appeared to even like each other as friends before then. You could count on the fingers of one hand how many times they spoke outside of a professional setting. He didn't approve of Janeway's decision to sever her from the collective, and there was nothing to suggest that he ever changed his mind about that until "Endgame." They also had ZERO chemistry in 'Natural Law.' It's one of the most blatant examples of Strangled by the Red String in TV history. Yes, Chakotay's actor would've left if he didn't get more storylines, but it didn't need to be Shipping! Killing Chakotay off would have been preferable, since he was Out of Focus anyway.
In "Endgame" (the series finale), a future version of Janeway travels back in time to get Voyager home earlier. (It seems that the death of Seven of Nine in transit is, in hindsight, completely unacceptable to her, far more so than the deaths of everyone else who has died throughout the series!) In prior episodes, it was established that, in the future, the Federation monitors time travel and prevents interference in the timeline (the Temporal Prime Directive). Getting the ship home 16 or so years earlier, affecting the lives of possibly trillions of people, including at least two on purpose, should have got their attention.
There is an earlier (by definition) episode in which a future Tom Paris and Harry Kim go back in time to save those left behind. They get berated for it by Janeway. But at the end of season 7 and the series, with no natural end in sight, a time travelling Janeway comes back, destroys a critical portion of the Borg Collective, and sacrifices her life to provide a shortcut home. Under the circumstances, this must be a Deus ex Machina; a natural ending for season 7 would've been No Ending, or else something like TNG's "All Good Things".
She also ignored how it would affect people born to crewmembers after the time she jumped in. These people may never exist or may have wildly different lives if they do, but that doesn't seem to matter to her.
At the end of the episode, Voyager (and the Borg sphere chasing it) flies out of a heretofore-unmentioned Borg transit wormhole - which exits directly in front of Earth. Not only is this patently absurd given the events of Star Trek: First Contact (in which a single Borg cube destroys part of the Federation fleet before being taken down), but it retroactively makes episodes like TNG's "Best of Both Worlds" pointless - if you've got a direct wormhole to Earth, why waste time travelling through the galaxy when you could jump directly to the source in minutes?
The climax of "Alliances" is painful. Janeway manages to get all the leaders of the Kazon groups to talk peace. Turns out it was all an Evil Plan by the Trabe, another race with a major hate-on for the Kazons to kill off their leadership. When the Trabe start strafing the building the Kazon chiefs have gathered in, Janeway is all "Screw This, I'm Outta Here!" and beams away, leaving the Kazon leadership to be slaughtered. Now, keep in mind that, right then, the Kazons have been a relentless pain in Voyager's ass. Saving the Kazon leaders would have earned Janeway a season's worth of "you saved our lives, we'll back off" gratitude. It would also have been the ethical thing to do.
It's not ethical, but it is tactically sound to decapitate your enemy's leadership to give yourself an advantage. Unfortunately for Voyager, instead of getting a Kazon Civil War that would have kept them busy, the Kazons got Seska.
Somebody's remembering the episode wrong. The ship did shoot up the meeting, but thanks to a warning from Janeway, and Voyager successfully shooting down the assassin ship, nobody got killed. The Kazon leaders were not grateful, and the regular infighting between tribes (which never kept any of the Voyager's crew out of the line of fire in the first place) resumed unabated. This meeting was definitely not one of the better moments for the Federation's diplomacy, but Janeway is hardly to blame for its failure.
In the episode "The Voyager Conspiracy", all of the mutinous accusations against Janeway and Chakotay are eventually revealed to be figments of Seven's imagination. However, Neelix's sensor data is completely forgotten. Problems:
Not a single Maquis gives even one throwaway line of concern over a fully armed Cardassian warship in the Delta Quadrant. This is one time the Maquis Aborted Arc would've been useful. It could have made it all the way to Borg Space before encountering a significant challenge.
No explanation is given for the tractor beam focused on the reactor room of the Caretaker's array.
Seven directly asks Tuvok, but there is no explanation for Voyager needing a Starfleet WMD for the Maquis ship that was no bigger than a runabout and too fragile to survive the trip to the Delta Quadrant. Nor does he explain why he set the torpedoes twice as strong as necessary. Even worse when Star Trek: Insurrection reveals that subspace weapons are illegal. Tuvok's sole answer is an aside glance, presumably so Seven doesn't accidentally get him into a war crimes tribunal.
Also, Photonic Fleas? Seriously? The definition of "photonic" is the technical application of the science of light. The definition of "flea" is a tiny, wingless blood-sucking insect. These Photonic Fleas have wings, are made of light, and show no inclination to try and suck Seven or Janeway's blood because, according to Seven, they consume plasma particles - which should mean they eat nothing but superheated gas. The name is misleading.
The real problem with "The Voyager Conspiracy" is that the suggested conspiracies are too far fetched to be believed for even a second. The whole episode is basically "Voodoo Shark: The Episode". First off, the claims that either Janeway or Chakotay were involved in a conspiracy against the othesr, involving the alien who built the space catapult, should have been easily dismissed by the observation that the Voyager crew were where they were at the time purely through random chance and unforeseen events: by the time the events of the episode have unfolded, the crew is about 20 years ahead of schedule, due to such things as an unscheduled passenger mutating and boosting them 10 years ahead of schedule, running into an alien who had hyperspace tech (who, btw, tried to kill the Voyager crew), taking several unscheduled detours around enemy space, and falling through subspace corridors that jumped them ahead a couple of months. For either Janeway's or Chakotay's conspiracy to work, every single miraculous shortcut they happened upon, all the aliens who gave Voyager useful technology at the expense of trying to cut their heads off, all the times they barely escaped certain death only because of some unforeseen deus ex machina, would have to have been fake and staged. The nice, neat little plan that Seven described, shouldn't have happened at all, because at that time, they still should have, by rights, been still slugging their way through Kazon territory. The whole thing about the Starfleet plan to use the new catapult to have a Starfleet/Cardassian invasion force come into the Delta quadrant was ridiculous on the face of it. Forget about the part of this plan that requires Starfleet and the rest of the Alpha Quadrant to not have decimated Cardassia by the time we get to this point in the series - the whole plan requires that Janeway abandon a perfectly working transporter that we KNOW works, travel through extremely dangerous space by herself with a skeleton crew and no weapons at extremely low speeds, in order to get to a location that, by all reasonable estimates, they wouldn't have reached until they were in their 50's or 60's, in order to use a catapult that was far weaker, non-functioning upon discovery, and basically cobbled together out of desperation. Basically, the whole episode is Seven recounting one long Voodoo Shark, because in order for any of the plans that Seven described to happen, countless enemies, cohorts, and bystanders would have to pass up numerous chances to kill the crew, or bypass the crew to achieve their goals directly, or ignore perfectly good chances to complete their mission in order to draw it out to that point in the story (such as the cloaked ship pushing the reactor into the tear in subspace to save it for a lesser catapult, instead of attacking Voyager and saving the whole working array from destruction in the first place). The closing lines of the show pretty much sum up the entire episode, when Janeway states that Seven was malfunctioning, but Janeway herself and Chakotay had no excuse for their stupidity.
"The Disease" reveals that you need medical clearance to sleep with an alien. In itself, it would make a lot of sense... but this is One Shot Revisionism. In no other episode does anyone get in trouble with Starfleet solely for sleeping around with aliens. Harry gets everyone on his case about it. He's the only person in the history of Star Trek to be berated by his crew for sleeping with a pretty alien girl.
To make things even worse, in "Dauphin", when Wesley caught the eye of the alien girl who would unite her people, Picard told him that, ordinarily, a ship's captain has no business getting involved in the romantic affairs of his crew (even if aliens are involved). The only reason he was getting involved in Wesley's case was because the girl in question had an overprotective and dangerous bodyguard, making Picard concerned about Wesley's safety as well as a possible diplomatic incident.
In the episode "Warlord", Kes' body is taken over by an enemy dictator, who then proceeds to break up with Neelix. Given how it is outright shown that it wasn't Kes, you would imagine that when she reclaimed her body their relationship would resume like nothing had happened... right? Instead, in every single episode afterward, not only is the body swap never referred to again, but it's outright stated in "Darkling" that it was Kes that broke up with Neelix - and not her captor. This implies one of two things: that Kes is such a coward or that Neelix is such a manipulator that she used it as an excuse, or that the script writers completely forgot about the events of this episode.
There was a scene cut from a later episode where they formally break it off.
In the episode Repression, it is implied that cinemas no longer exist... what?? The Holodeck probably would have killed a lot of business, but 1) Holodecks were stated to be brand new technology during TNG and as such, not everyone should have regular and reliable access to one a mere decade later. 2) Sometimes you won't want to exert yourself playing through a story and may just want to kick back and watch a story unfold - pretty difficult to be lazy in a fully interactive 3D recreation of D-Day for example. Laughably, an earlier episode implies televisions no longer exist; as if everyone has enough room in their house for a fully working holodeck or something.
There's even an instance where Harry questions why anyone would read a book. Captain Picard may be willing to do everything he can to avoid genociding the Borg, or killing crystalline entities that eat planets, but he'd probably eject Harry out the airlock without a second thought for that comment. Although he'd probably be willing to do that simply because he might know that killing Harry is only a minor inconvenience for him.
Perhaps cinemas are out because Holodecks can be used for that purpose - it can replicate you the most convenient chair possible and just play the movie in True 3D right in front of you. Televisions being extinct makes tons of sense with computers as advanced and omnipresent as they are - you wouldn't need a separate electronic device for shows.
"Fury" jammed on the wallbanger button egregiously and frequently:
Despite being friends for the past thirty years, Janeway forgets when Tuvok was born, and sloppily tries to discover what his birthdate is so she can bake him a cake.
Why did Kes attack Voyager and kill Torres before jumping back in time? She has no reason to think that the crew had a grudge against her - besides, the last time she was seen, she was being helped by Janeway, Tuvok and the bridge crew, and seemed at peace with herself.
The episode reveals that Ensign Wildman and the Doctor created anti-Vidiian laughing gas to use as a countermeasure. Why, then, was this technology never used or deployed against the Vidiians at any point during the first two seasons? It would have been very helpful during several encounters with them.
The Quantum Slipstream Drive from Timeless. In a very similar way to the Warp 10 engine; once the Voyager crew hit a minor obstacle they rip it out and forget about it. It was established that it takes approximately 15 seconds for the phase variance to show itself and it was also established that a simple calculation in-putted into the computer will safely collapse the vortex. Voyager travelled 10,000 light years in it's failed jump, or in other words, 10 years closer to home. The obvious answer of using the Drive for 10 seconds a time and getting home in a day is completely missed, as is modifying the Delta Flyer to send a message back to Earth given how we have already proven it can transverse the Slipstream completely without incident. If this seems like Fanwank to anyone, remember that back in Hope and Fear we have already seen that Voyager can navigate a Quantum Slipstream for limited periods of time without any negative effects whatsoever, and that one wasn't even designed to be compatible with a Federation Starship.
The first time, at least, they made it very clear they'd destroy the ship if they tried it again.
The episode addresses this; the materials needed to run the drive had a very short lifespan. That's why they had to use it right away, even knowing about the risk of failure. Probably by the time they figured out what went wrong when they dropped out of the slipstream in the "good" timeline, the materials had decayed too much to use again.
The convenience of Janeway, Tuvok and Torres's assimilation from Unimatrix Zero. Follow along with me here: When Picard was freed from the Borg he still had enough technology in his brain to still tap into the Collective when in proximity to a Cube (First Contact), when Seven of Nine was freed from the Borg she needed a false eye and still had enough nanomachines in her blood to activate her Borg Shields, the Borg Individuals from Unity and the Borg children the Voyager crew later came across were still covered head to toe in various small pieces of Borg tech that they couldn't remove. These three? Completely recovered. Not a trace of Borg tech or a single nano to be found. Amazingly enough the scriptwriters manage to supersede even this piece of nonsense by revealing the fact that now a simple injection is enough to completely shield you from the Borg Hive Mind for twelve hours... given how badly that destroys the entire premise of the Borg it's no wonder they were killed off during Endgame.
A really stupid scenario takes place in the later half of Unimatrix Zero: The Borg Queen has confronted Janeway, and wants her to reveal the secret frequency that Unimatrix Zero is operating on. Janeway refuses, causing the Borg Queen to demonstrate how ruthless she is... by destroying all of her ships where she cannot hear one or more of her drones. Apparently the Borg Queen went to the same computer education course that LaForge went to in Contagion - you know, the one that didn't teach him how to do a basic system restore. 1) Why should Janeway care if the Borg Queen is destroying 99% of her troops to get to the traitorous 1%? These people are POW's at best - Janeway has no reason to believe that these Fifth Columnists will be anything other than executed once she reveals where they are. Given that these drones are going to be executed anyway, the choice becomes one between a) all the good guys are executed, or b) all the good guys are executed, but so are 98% of the bad guys. 2) Has the Borg Queen ever heard of a binary search algorithm? This shouldn't take more than a few days at worst, if that. It can't be worse than throwing out 99% of the collective just to get at the 1%. I mean, if we have a bad network connection on the Internet now, we don't just throw out the entire network because one connection is bad, nor does it take us an inordinate amount of time to find said connection either. Then too, this is the Borg, and after TNG, it isn't like they were known for their common sense...
Speaking of destroying the whole premise of the Borg how about Voyager's revelation that the Borg have absolutely no creative thinking and can only gain knowledge through assimilation? They were shown to be absolutely helpless against Species 8472 until Voyager helped them. The Borg have shown the ability to scan and work things out for themselves numerous times. It's where their ability to adapt to new weapons comes from and they have been shown to hack into enemy computers (Q Who and Star Trek First Contact respectively.) Oh and forgive me for pointing out the obvious here but the Borg must have started out as a normal species once upon a time, right? They had scientists who developed their first interstellar ships and weapons powerful enough to actually start attacking other civilizations? It's a pretty ridiculous concept that a species whose ultimate goal is perfection would have eliminated the ability to actually improve their own technology in order to attack and defend against new enemies.
This idiocy continues in Hope and Fear. At the beginning of the episode, Janeway and Seven are engaged in some kind of phaser frisbee match. After Janeway soundly beats Seven, Seven complains that with her superior abilities, she should never have lost, and that Janeway was making impossible shots. When Janeway explains how she used a little physics, sound, and indirect visual cues to determine the location of the frisbee when she could not see it, Seven dismisses it out of hand. It is completely implausible to her to use any of her senses other than sight to determine where her target is. Even with sight, it never occurs to her that there might be indirect visual cues to tell her where the object is even if she cannot see it herself. And you thought Khan getting schooled by forgetting that space was 3 dimensional was bad.
Set course for the Alpha Quadrant! Apparently both the script writers, Starfleet and Voyager's navigational staff have forgotten that the Beta Quadrant's boundary passes right alongside Earth's Solar system. This means that, according the the canonical map, the quickest route from the Caretaker Array to Earth is Delta - Beta - Alpha. In order to traverse Delta to Alpha would require going through the centre of the Galaxy which is an increase of many thousands of light years. There are unfortunately tales that the production staff thought that fans would find the concept of ''three'' quadrants far too confusing.
A course to the Alpha Quadrant that goes through Beta on the way can still be called "a course for the Alpha Quadrant".
The episode Random Thoughts was a major Wallbanger: the concept of a society where non-telepaths faced serious dangers due to their lack of telepathic control and experience was a good one, but executed poorly. The basic premise of the episode is that while visiting a planet, B'elanna has a mildly violent thought, which causes a chain reaction that incites one of the natives to commit a violent crime. As punishment for this crime, B'elanna is sentenced to have the violent thought removed from her head. Problems: 1) Removing the bad thought from her head is neither punishment, deterrent, nor compensation. Insofar as it being punishment, it is ineffective, because not only is it natural for B'elanna to have occasionally angry thoughts, but the whole interrogation was aggravating, and most likely producing more angry thoughts. As for the deterrent failure, removing one angry thought won't prevent her from having other angry thoughts. It would be about as effective as cutting one's fingernails to prevent someone from punching people. Obviously it isn't compensation because the crime has been committed, and regardless of what happens to B'elanna, the thought has been had, and the crime has been committed: this won't help the victim in any way, nor ensure their further safety. The best response in this case would be to simply remove the crew from the surface of the planet and let them continue on their way, which the crew was going to do anyway. 2) If one random thought from an outsider can screw up an entire society, I find it hard to believe that nobody has thought about this, and either a) taken extraordinary steps to warn outside visitors of this, or b) simply instituted a visitor screening or blockade system.
The episode Omega. Voyager detects a particle of energy that holds both the promise of virtually limitless power, and incredible destruction - the particle can power an entire warp capable civilization when synthesized correctly, but if done incorrectly, the particle can destroy subspace for light-years, thus making warp travel impossible and destroying space faring civilizations. Because of this, all Starfleet personel are authorized to do anything to destroy Omega, and the entire Federation Charter, including the Prime Directive, is superceded by this. Voyager detects a store of Omega large enough to destroy 1/8th of the galaxy. Janeway then goes on a mission to destroy this store of Omega. Problems:
Nobody tries to talk with the aliens, to reason with them, or anything, which is saying something given how Janeway often tries to talk to aliens even when they're killing and raping her crew. Janeway just beams in, takes the molecules, tries to destroy them, and says nothing to the aliens about why she's doing it. It never occurs to her to tell the aliens exactly what it is they're dealing with, or that the aliens may just voluntarily give it up if they know just how bad what they have is. It never occurs to her that there may be more stores of Omega in this civlization, and that talking to the aliens may get her more information on this than simply destroying the existing stores. She never stops to think of the possibility that if there is more Omega, and the aliens get it working, she has made a new enemy and passed up an opportunity to gain a working source of new power for the Federation, nor that if they don't get it working, she won't find out about it until a few months down the line when she wakes up one day to find that Voyager's warp engines suddenly don't work, and they're too far away to do anything about it.
Nobody thinks that it might be a blessing in disguise that they can suddenly throw out the entire Federation charter that has been hampering them all journey. With this new interpretation of the Omega Directive, Voyager can ally with anyone, use any tech, make any trade, so long as it can be construed as preventing the creation of, or destroying, Omega. Indeed, it's not even that much of a stretch: this civilization has declared their intent to create Omega, it's very possible that other civilizations could be going down the same path. Suddenly, there's a real need for Voyager to get back home, and/or get resources from anywhere to stop this. Yet the next episode, the Reset Button has been pushed once again, despite this being one time where it would actually be more beneficial to Voyager not to push it.
Janeway trying to get Captain Ransom to abandon the USS Equinox long before it was established that he was evil by quoting regulations (in this case that command of the fleet falls to the ship with tactical superiority in a battle situation). Firstly there is nothing in that rule that says she is allowed to legally commandeer another Federation starship to the point she can just scuttle the damn thing on a whim and secondly it's pretty clear that the spirit of the law here is to stop an ego-contest between two captains in a crisis. Using it this way is bloody reaching at best and offensively illegal at worst. It also shows quite a bit about what sort of woman she is that she almost immediately looked for a way to be able to give orders to someone of completely equal rank. But let's go one step further here and imagine that instead of Captain Ransom of the Equinox, it was Captain Kirk of the original Enterprise. Same situation, Voyager has priority. Could you imagine how many levels of fuck off Kirk would employ if Janeway told him to just happily abandon his pride and joy on the basis of some questionable regulation drawn up thousands of light years away? Because that is exactly how any other captain including Ransom would be feeling at this point.
Janeway's interrogation of the Equinox crewman was nothing short of attempted murder. Seriously, watch that scene; there's absolutely no ambiguity, she was fully prepared to allow an alien to kill a defenseless man in her custody. That man would have died if not for Chakotay's intervention.
What really makes this suck is that Ransom is essentially Janeway, sans the plot coupons she's been receiving the entire series up until then. Janeway is pissed off at Ransom for doing what he did, but seriously, the only difference between them is that Janeway has been the recipient of numerous pushes of the reset button when faced with an alien species she's pissed off, a food crisis, a fuel shortage, etc. I mean she single handedly owned The Borg, back when they were kind of threatening. None of this is plausible, and by rights Janeway should have met her match back in Kazon territory. It's kind of hard to sympathize with Janeway about doing the right thing, when a lot of the times she's gotten the good end of the stick on something, it's despite not doing the right thing.