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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 1 E 1 "Caretaker"

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Well, then. We might be out here a while.

"Captain, if these sensors are working, we're over seventy thousand light years from where we were. We're on the other side of the galaxy."

During a fight with Cardassians, a Maquis ship tries to flee into a plasma storm only to be hit with a beam of mysterious energy. Back on Earth, Captain Janeway is putting together a mission to search for that missing Maquis ship, which has her Chief of Security as an undercover agent on it. She recruits the convict Tom Paris, a former Starfleet officer with a brief history in the Maquis, to serve as an expert observer. Janeway's high-tech new ship, Voyager, is docked at Deep Space Nine, where they pick up their full crew. Paris meets Ensign Kim, a fresh recruit, by saving him from one of Quark's schemes.

While searching, Voyager is hit by the same tetryon beam as the Maquis ship. The blast kills a number of officers, including the first officer, helm and ship's doctor. They've been transported to a new location 70,000 light years away. In front of them is a massive array firing energy bursts at a nearby planet. The crew struggle to repair the damage and treat the wounded. In lieu of the doctor, the crew activate the Emergency Medical Hologram, who is informed that he's the only medical personnel on the ship. As the ship starts to get under control, every living member is transported to some sort of old-fashioned, Earth-like farm, where they're greeted by a bunch of farm folk. The crew's tricorders reveal that everything around them is a hologram, but Paris and Kim locate a life form in a barn. The crew congregate there, and the holograms allow them to walk through a portal that opens up. Suddenly, the whole crew is captured and subjected to genetic tests. Both Maquis and Starfleet crews wake up back on their ships three days later, though Kim and the Maquis engineer Torres are still missing.

The Maquis and Starfleet agree to work together to find them. When the Maquis captain Chakotay beams aboard Voyager, Janeway reveals that his companion, Tuvok, is really her Chief Security Officer spying for her. Chakotay is also angry to see Paris working for Starfleet against him. However, they all agree to beam aboard the Array to get their people back. They find themselves back on the farm, where a lone old man tells them that Torres and Kim might have what he needs to honor a debt that can't be repaid. He is running out of time, so he refuses to return the pair and beams the rescue party away.

Back on the ship, the crew trace the Array's energy pulses to an M-class planet that nonetheless lacks any rainfall. They deduce that Kim and Torres were sent there. After meeting with a Talaxian named Neelix, who is scavenging the local debris, they recruit him to serve as their guide in exchange for water.

Torres and Kim awaken in a hospital and find themselves sick, with lesions all over their bodies. They are greeted by the Ocampans, natives of the planet, who assure them that they are not holding them prisoner. The pair have been sent to them by the Caretaker, a powerful entity who provides for all of their needs as they live underground. However, they also inform the pair that their mysterious condition is a fatal one. Luckily, an Ocampan nurse who secretly rebels against reliance on the Caretaker tells them about a secret passage to the surface.

Neelix leads an away team to the Ocampan planet surface, where they meet another resident species, the Kazon, a barbarous people. Neelix offers to trade water for their help and insists on throwing in an enslaved Ocampan woman into the deal, but the Kagon want Starfleet's technology to create water itself, which Janeway says is impossible. Suddenly, Neelix takes the Kagon chief hostage and rescues the Ocampan slave, forcing the crew to beam away. Back on the ship, Neelix reveals that the former slave, Kes, is his lover whom he swore to rescue. Kes reveals that there are cracks in the planet's surface that can be used to reach her civilization underground and offers to lead a rescue party. Under the planet's surface, both sides meet up and head back to the surface, but a cave-in complicates matters, forcing Paris to rescue Chakotay.

Tuvok has theorized that the Caretaker is dying, so time is running out to convince him to send them home. Janeway and company return to the Array, where they meet the Caretaker in his guise as the old man. He reveals that he is atoning for destroying the environment of the Ocampans' planet and now must seal the fissures in the surface so that the Ocampans will be protected from the Kazon, who want their water. He's been abducting people because he's trying to find someone he can procreate with and create a new caretaker, but he's run out of time. Janeway convinces him that the Ocampans will be able to stand on their own if given the chance. The Caretaker tries to activate the Array's self destruct so that it cannot fall into the Kazon's hands, but it's been rendered inoperable. He then dies, shrinking down to a small chunk of crystal.

The Kazon have shown up in a massive battleship, which fights both Alpha Quadrant vessels. It's too much for both ships, so Chakotay orders all hands to beam to Voyager and rams it with the Maquis ship, beaming away just in time. The Kazon vessel is crippled, and the Kazon vow that they have made an enemy. Janeway is faced with the decision to use the Array to go home—dooming the Ocampans—or destroy it, stranding them all in the Delta Quadrant. She decides that she cannot have the destruction of an entire people on her conscience and destroys the Array.

Now trapped 75 years away from home at maximum warp, Janeway stitches together the two crews into a single Starfleet crew, with Chakotay as her First Officer. She also grants Paris a field commission of lieutenant. Neelix and Kes also volunteer to accompany them as guides. Janeway gives a speech and promises that, whether through new technologies, wormholes, or finding another Caretaker, they will get back to their loved ones. She then orders a course for home.

This episode contains the following tropes:

  • Ace Pilot: When Janeway tells Tom he'll only be on the mission as an observer, he objects, claiming he's the best pilot she could have. When Janeway orders him to take the helm in the final battle, Tom's face lights up.
  • Action Prologue: The episode opens on the Maquis raider Val Jean being pursued by a Cardassian warship.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Caretaker appears as an old man with a banjo, living in an Earth farm house that Tuvok speculates is meant to calm down the abductees prior to their medical examination.
  • Alien Abduction: Including a medical examination played for horror rather than Anal Probing comedy.
  • All Is Well That Ends Well: While integrating the two crews under one captain makes a good deal of sense, we don't see any debate on the subject. The Maquis just appear in Starfleet uniform at the end of the episode, the whole issue having been decided off-screen by Janeway and Chakotay.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The Kazon vessels are shown to be tiny in comparison to Voyager. Then a Kazon cruiser turns up that dwarfs Voyager.
  • And I Must Scream: And Harry Kim does just that as a long needle is slowly pushed into his chest while he's in the Caretaker's examination chamber.
  • Asleep for Days: Janeway and her crew spend almost three days asleep on the Array. The Maquis were there for even longer.
  • Asshole Victim: Two of Voyager's casualties, the original ship's doctor and Janeway's first officer, just happen to rudely snub Tom Paris before they both die when their ship gets snatched.
  • The Atoner: The Caretaker's species accidentally destroyed the Ocampan biosphere. He's been caring for them ever since.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: Chakotay orders Evasive Pattern Omega while Janeway orders Evasive Pattern Delta Four.
  • Bar Full of Aliens: Harry Kim is introduced to the audience in Quarks.
  • Bathtub Scene: Involving a very happy Neelix.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Zigzagged; Kes is introduced with a black eye and split lip, as Maje Jabin had been torturing her in a failed attempt to find out how to get into the Ocampan city. However she's quickly restored to her full beauty thanks to the wonders of Starfleet medical technology.
  • Beneath the Mask: Captain Janeway is introduced as an all-business Starfleet captain. Next time we see her, she's gushing with her fiance over a Precious Puppy in the privacy of her quarters.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: In this episode, Neelix's oddball behavior hides a more ruthless side demonstrated when he tricks Voyager into helping him rescue Kes, and then takes the Kazon Maje hostage. This is a bit of Early-Installment Weirdness that never pops up again, outside of "Fair Trade" in Season 3 (and even then it's treated more as O.O.C. Is Serious Business).
  • Big Word Shout: Chakotay's "NOW!" for Voyager to beam him out just before his starship is about to crash into the Kazon cruiser.
  • Bit Character:
    • Ayala just exists as a background Maquis character, and his role doesn't change much over the course of the series.
    • Ensign Rollins is there to give Janeway someone to hand over the ship to after Cavit is killed, because Chakotay hasn't taken on the role of her First Officer yet.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Caretaker. While he feels a sense of duty to care for the Ocampa after his species' intergalactic exploration devastated their homeworld, he does so by turning them into a docile childlike people utterly dependent on him. When he begins to die, he proceeds to abduct, experiment on, and ultimately kill sentient beings from elsewhere in the galaxy in his desperate attempt to produce an offspring to continue his duties, as his female counterpart has long since left him.
  • Boxed Crook: Tom Paris is introduced in a penal colony on Earth (namely New Zealand). Janeway recruits him to find his former colleagues in the Maquis.
  • Brutal Honesty
    Tuvok: I must inform you that I was assigned to infiltrate your crew, sir. I am Captain Janeway's Chief of Security.
    Chakotay: Were you going to deliver us into their waiting hands, Vulcan?
    Tuvok: My mission was to accumulate information on Maquis activities... and then deliver you into their waiting hands. That is correct.
  • Butt-Monkey: Harry seems to suffer the most from the Caretaker's "examination", and he and B'Elanna are the ones who nearly die from his attempt to procreate with them. This pretty much sets the tone of the next seven years of his life.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: When Tuvok points out that the Prime Directive would apply in this case, Janeway replies, "We never asked to be involved, Tuvok, but we are."
  • Captain Crash: Chakotay crashes the Val Jean, condemning him to seven years bad luck as the Number One of another captain and a near-endless string of shuttle crashes with him at the helm.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Tom tries to charm Janeway, hits on Stadi, and gets cozy with the Farmer's Daughter at the welcoming bee.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: As the stairs threaten to collapse, Tom and Chakotay engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat.
    Paris: You'd rather die than let me be the one to rescue you?
    Chakotay: Fine. Be a fool. If I have to die, at least I'll have the pleasure of watching you go with me.
    Chakotay: You're too heavy.
  • Character Overlap: Gul Evek from ST:TNG and ST:DS9 is commanding the Cardassian warship chasing the Val Jean. Voyager launches from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where we have a cameo involving Quark trying to con Naïve Newcomer Harry Kim. The latter continues the tradition of the pilot of a new Trek series featuring a cameo from the previous one, after McCoy in TNG and Picard in DS9.
  • Character Development: A single-episode version; Paris starts as a disgraced and somewhat shallow ex-con, and finishes the episode by being promoted to a position of trust after risking his life to save others.
  • Character Tic: Our very first sight of Captain Janeway is of her in the trademark hands-on-hips position. She also has a habit of walking with her hands behind her back.
  • Clarke's Third Law: The Kazon-Ogla are mystified by Voyager's transporter and decline their gift of water in favor of their transporter tech, which they describe as "making water out of thin air".
  • The Confidant: Though Tuvok maintains his Vulcan reserve, the closeness of his relationship with Captain Janeway is shown by her pouring out her concerns to him in the privacy of her ready room.
  • Critical Staffing Shortage: Another reason for incorporating the Maquis into Voyager's crew; the first officer, the chief engineer, the conn officer, and the entire medical staff are killed.
  • Crowd Surfing: The Kazon-Ogla give Neelix an impromptu version. It's not because they're having a rock concert.
  • Damsel in Distress: Neelix cons the crew into rescuing Kes, who is being held prisoner by the Kazon-Ogla. To her credit, Kes insists that they return the favor by helping Voyager get its missing crew back from the Ocampa.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Harry, when he and B'Elanna are locked in the Ocampan infirmary and he tells her about how Voyager was looking for her Maquis ship.
    B'Elanna: You mean you were trying to capture us?!
    Harry: Yeah, consider yourself captured. Oh, I know I have a phaser here somewhere.
  • Deflationary Dialogue: Neelix does this a lot.
    Neelix: Let me guess. You were whisked away from somewhere else in the galaxy, and brought here against your will.
    Janeway: Sounds as though you've heard this story before.
    Neelix: Sadly, yes; thousands of times! Well, hundreds of times... maybe fifty times.
  • Derelict Graveyard: The other vessels brought to the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker, currently being scavenged by a very strange creature called a Neelix.
  • The Determinator: Even at maximum speed it will take Voyager 75 years to get back to the Alpha Quadrant. Janeway declares that they're going to head home regardless, though with an eye for shortcuts that will cut things down to the length of a seven-year TV series.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: One of the Caretaker's "people", in the form of an attractive young woman, tries this on Harry and Tom to deflect them from their investigations. It works momentarily on Tom, but Harry remains all business.
    Kim: Paris, she's just a hologram.
    Paris: No need to be rude...
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Janeway says this when fresh-out-of-the-academy Kim calls her "sir".
    Janeway: Ensign, despite Starfleet protocol, I don't like being addressed as "sir".
    Kim: I'm sorry, ma'am.
    Janeway: "Ma'am" is acceptable in a crunch, but I prefer "Captain".
    • Which pays off later as a Brick Joke:
      Janeway: Ensign Kim, this is your station. Would you like to take over?
      Kim: Yes, ma'am.
      Janeway: It's not crunch time yet, Mister Kim. I'll let you know when.
  • Do You Want to Haggle?: Janeway encounters Neelix scavenging a spaceship debris field, and tries to get his help finding their missing crew. They immediately begin some unsubtle haggling towards suitable compensation for his services, which Janeway is surprised to find out is... water?
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Neelix is established as a Con Man (in the vein of Quark) who deceives Voyager to save Kes and then screws over the local Kazon tribe on the deal they made. Afterwards, Neelix is never portrayed as anything other than a harmless goofball.
    • Tom Paris is treated like a pariah by the crew of Voyager and even among the Maquis, with only Harry Kim to call a friend. This was quickly papered over by the third episode, "Time and Again."
    • B'Elanna is a lot more aggressive than in later episodes. This one at least doesn't get completely ignored after the pilot, as she still has major anger management issues through most of the first season or so, before later mellowing out (though her temper never truly subsides). This one is likely because the producers realized how badly the B'Elanna portrayed here was slamming into the same kinds of implications that had quietly, then ever more loudly, dogged the re-tooled Klingons for years at that point, and stealthily did a (partial) about-face to avoid having another non-white crewman be "the aggressive one" (they would run into completely different racial problems instead).
    • Janeway being willing to break the Prime Directive because "we're already involved." She'll spend the rest of the series as the biggest PD zealot of the entire franchise.
    • Chakotay is more of a hardass resistance leader in this episode, something that almost never pops up again after the first season.
    • The Kazon leader, Maje Jabin, is set up as a recurring villain. He never appears again, with the villain role later taken by Maje Cullah.
    • Janeway pronounces "Kazon" with a hard "kh" sound ("KHazon"), and also seems to put an extra syllable in the second half of the name, so we get "KHazon-Ogala? Who are the KHazon-Ogala?" Neither Janeway nor anyone else uses this pronunciation ever again.
    • Voyager is equipped with two tricobalt devices which blow up the huge Caretaker Array in two shots. Despite the infamous Infinite Supplies of Voyager, they're never used again.
    • Voyager (and the Val Jean) being outclassed by a single Kazon carrier vessel. Though it may be because the Kazon carrier ship got a lucky hit on Voyager just after it arrived.
      Chakotay: [Voyager's] weapons array has been hit. They're in trouble.
      Torres: Neither of us has enough firepower to stop that ship.
  • Endless Corridor: Janeway and her crew find themselves looking into a corridor so long that it vanishes into the distance, lined with people suspended in mid-air— all of the beings who have been abducted by the Caretaker. Next moment they're transported there themselves, helpless to move as a surgical probe is pushed down into their chest.
  • Enemy Mine: Janeway and Chakotay team up to find their missing crewmembers. By the end of the episode, Janeway decides the only way to survive is to integrate the Maquis into her crew as brevet members of Starfleet.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Janeway's first appearance shows her standing in a power pose to show that this female captain is no less badass than her male counterparts.
    • Harry Kim is nearly swindled by Quark, a sign of his extreme naïveté.
    • B'Elanna raises hell in the Ocampan hospital, showing her volatile temperament, which she then blames on her Klingon side, showing her issues with being a Half-Human Hybrid.
    • Jabin describes Kes as weak and feeble, yet says she resisted his torture without breaking. After escaping, Kes insists they stay to help Voyager's crew and stands up to the other Ocampa who tell her to stay underground, showing her yen to be a Bold Explorer.
    • Tom Paris may be a rogue and a bit of a Jerkass early on, but his desire to help his new buddy Harry shows that he does have a heart of gold, and he does care about his friends.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: What kills everyone in Sickbay.
    Paris: They must have been right next to the console when it exploded.
  • Face, Nod, Action: When Captain Janeway suggests to Chakotay that they work together to find their missing crew, Chakotay looks to Tuvok, who gives a nod of approval. Well, he would, seeing as he's actually working for Janeway!
  • Fantastic Nuke: Tricobalt warheads, which Voyager uses to demolish the Caretaker's array. Expanded Universe material generally holds them to be specialized for anti-station and anti-material applications.
  • Field Promotion: At the end of the episode, Captain Janeway tells Tom Paris that she's giving him a field promotion to Lieutenant and placing him in charge of the Conn. However he's going to be working under Chakotay, who has been made her First Officer.
  • First Time in the Sun: Kes finds a way out of the Underground City of the Ocampa, and is not in the least deterred that the surface of her world is a desert roamed by hostile Kazon sects who torture her for information on where she came from.
    Toscat: You defied the Caretaker by going to the surface, Kes. Learn from the experience. Follow the path he has set for us.
    Kes: I've learned very well, Toscat. I saw the sunlight! I can't believe that our Caretaker would forbid us to open our eyes and see the sky.
  • Foreshadowing
    • The Caretaker says his female partner left long ago to pursue other interests. Janeway is determined to find her, and does so in Season 2's "Cold Fire".
    • The Ocampans mention the advanced Psychic Powers their ancestors allegedly possessed, and that Kes will develop in later seasons.
    • The Doctor gets annoyed because people don't shut down his program when they leave Sickbay. The Doctor's stand over this issue is the first in his Character Development.
    • There's a mention of the Chief Engineer being killed off-screen. The question of who will replace him is the B plot of the following episode.
    • When Neelix boasts of his great cooking skills, Kes rolls her eyes.
    • Neelix asks if he can have a uniform like Tuvok's — his desire to be in Security is a Running Gag in later seasons.
  • The Golden Rule: Janeway to Chakotey: "That man is a member of my crew. Treat him with the same respect as you would have me treat one of yours."
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Janeway is shown persuading her fiancé back on Earth to look after her pregnant dog while she's away.
    Mark: Is this another "love me, love my dog" demand?
  • He's Dead, Jim
    Janeway: Paris, how's Stadi?
    Paris: She's dead...
    • Averted when we see Janeway taking Cavit's pulse.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: The Maquis crew.
  • Hollywood Healing: Chakotay breaks his leg so Tom can heroically rescue him, then the Doctor's biobed miraculously lets him walk again so he can rush off to his ship to take part in the battle with the Kazon warships.
  • Hug and Comment: One where the hug is purely one-sided. Upon arriving on the ship and meeting Tuvok for the first time, Neelix enthusiastically proclaims "Good to meet you!" and gives him a big hug. Tuvok — who, as a Vulcan a) isn't a hugging person at the best of times and b) has a particularly sensitive nose, suggests as politely as he can that the Talaxian might care for a bath, to which Neelix replies "A what?"
  • Humanoids Are White: Averted; the Kazon and Ocampa are shown to have people of different skin color.
  • Human Shield: Neelix holds Maje Jabin at phaser point in exchange for Kes.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Badlands
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: A meta example — one of the factors that got Robert Picardo the role of the Doctor is that during his audition, he said the character's line "I believe someone has failed to terminate my program" and then ad-libbed "I'm a doctor, not a nightlight." Even better, he didn't even know that was Bones' Catchphrase (besides "He's Dead, Jim").
  • I Owe You My Life:
    • After Voyager saves Kes from the Kazon, she helps them find Harry and B'Elanna.
    • Tom Paris saves Chakotay and jokes that his life belongs to Tom now. Chakotay responds "Wrong tribe!" but repays the favor by keeping the rest of the Maquis from harassing Tom.
  • In Mysterious Ways: The Ocampa authorities just accept that everything the Caretaker does has a purpose, as he's always cared for them.
  • Ironic Echo: Quark tries to hawk some jewelry to Ensign Kim, who says they were warned about Ferengi at Starfleet Academy. Quark is so outraged at this speciesism that Harry offers to buy the whole tray… until Tom points out they're being sold at a fraction of the price elsewhere. As they walk off together, Tom says, "Didn't they warn you about Ferengi at the Academy?"
  • It's a Long Story: Harry asks why everyone appears to be snubbing Tom.
    Paris: It's a long story, Harry, and I'm tired of telling it. I'm sure someone around here will tell you before long.
  • It's Personal: When Tuvok reveals himself as The Mole, Chakotay accepts that he was just doing his job, but he immediately rounds on Tom Paris, accusing him of having sold them out for money (actually, it was for help getting parole). Tom then volunteers to go on the away mission to search for Harry Kim, to find the only person so far who's actually treated him like a friend.
  • Jumped at the Call: Kes and Neelix volunteer to go with Voyager on their journey.
  • Kill the Cutie: Naturally, attractive conn officer Lt. Stadi is among the fatal casualties of Voyager's violent ride to the Delta Quadrant.
  • Living Ship: Voyager herself, in a way. It's mentioned during Tom's first look of the ship that the computer is enhanced with biological components. Don't worry, we'll see soon enough just how much of a bad idea this is.
  • Magical Native American: Poked fun at when Tom (carrying a wounded Chakotay) asks if he can't just turn into a bird and fly them out of there. Chakotay replies, "You're too heavy."
  • The Magnificent:
    Janeway: Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation starship Voyager.
    Neelix: A very impressive title. I have no idea what it means, but it sounds very impressive.
  • Man Hug: Neelix gives Tuvok a big hug when they meet. Tuvok really doesn't reciprocate.
  • Mars Needs Water: The Ocampa homeworld was damaged by the Caretaker's technology, making it impossible to rain there. Both Neelix and the local Kazon tribe consider water to be incredibly valuable.
  • Mars Needs Women: Though No Biochemical Barriers is averted as the Caretaker can't find anyone whose DNA is compatible with his own.
  • Mercy Kill: The Caretaker tried to bury the Ocampa civilization once he knew he was dying and wouldn’t have the means to take care of them anymore. He saw it as the better option to provide the Ocampa with five years’ worth of supplies and close off their tunnels than risk them going above the service where their survival will be minimal.
  • A Mother to Her Men: In the privacy of her quarters, Captain Janeway angsts over her missing ensign Harry Kim, who she barely knows. The trope is lampshaded when she and Chakotay explain to the Caretaker that they can't return home until they've recovered their missing crew, as they are responsible for them.
  • More Dakka: Voyager is equipped with tricobalt warheads and compression phaser rifles.
  • Medical Horror: When they refuse to accept the holographic illusion created by the Caretaker, Voyager's crew find themselves teleported onto a long line of examination tables, helpless to resist when a long needle inserts into their stomach. When Harry and B'Elanna wake up in an Ocampan hospital, they find ugly growth scars on their body from the Caretaker's experiments.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: The Caretaker and his kind. They were just explorers like our heroes who had no idea that their technology would destroy the biosphere of Ocampa.
  • The Mole: Tuvok is a Starfleet spy on Chakotay's vessel. Voyager's assignment is to find him when the Val Jean goes missing in the Badlands.
  • Money to Throw Away: Neelix shoots the canisters of water to provide a distraction so he can escape with Kes and the Voyager crew.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The crew are transported from a dark and damaged Voyager to a peaceful Iowa farm in broad daylight. Then when they insist on snooping around, the farmers quickly turn hostile and break out the pitchforks.
    • A character version when the crew first meets Neelix, who angrily declares that the debris field he's scavenging is his because he found it first, only to pour on the charm once Janeway says they're not interested in it.
      Neelix: Whoever you are, I found this waste zone first!
      Janeway: We're not interested in this debris field, Mister...
      Neelix: Neelix, and since you're not interested in my debris...I'm delighted to know you.
  • Mr. Exposition: Stadi delivers Voyager's specs as she flies a shuttle toward it. Tuvok works out what's happening with the Caretaker.
  • Mundane Luxury: Neelix is amazed and rather impressed that the Voyager crew has such efficient water recycling facilities that he can take a bath.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Quark tells Harry he acquired the Lobi crystals from "a very strange creature called a Morn." Star Trek: Deep Space Nine viewers will recognize Morn sitting right next to them.
    • Chakotay's ship (not named until the Season 7 episode "Repression") is called the Val Jean [sic], possibly named by Starfleet officer-turned-Maquis defector Michael Eddington, who in the DS9 episode "For the Uniform" was shown to be obsessed with Jean Valjean, the protagonist of Les Misérables.
  • Named After Their Planet: Assumed by Neelix when he says that "you Federations are obviously an advanced culture." Tuvok has to correct him that the Federation is made up of many cultures.
  • Native Guide: At the end of the episode, Neelix offers his skills in this area in order to stay on board this Cool Starship.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Neelix blurts out that Voyager has technology that can create water from thin air, and Janeway informs the Kazon that it's integrated into their ship. The Kazon spend the next two seasons trying to get their hands on it.
    • Chakotay rams the Kazon cruiser, causing it to crash into the Array, destroying the Self-Destruct Mechanism that would have meant Voyager did not have to stay in the Delta Quadrant to ensure the Array's destruction (assuming that Janeway and Tuvok could have talked the Caretaker out of blowing up the Array himself).
    • Janeway destroys the Caretaker Array stranding them on the other side of the galaxy (though Tuvok tells her that it would take several hours to work out the technology involved, all while being attacked by Kazon forces).
  • The Nicknamer: B'Elanna calls Harry "Starfleet" even after he introduces himself. This nickname doesn't last past Season Two. Neelix uses "Mr. Vulcan" for the first time, presumably Accidental Misnaming as Tuvok said while introducing himself, "I am Vulcan". Unfortunately for Tuvok, Neelix never stops using this name.
  • Noodle Incident: The accident on Caldek Prime that killed three Starfleet officers and ended Tom's career.
  • No Endor Holocaust: The Caretaker gave the Ocampa five years' worth of power for the city before his death. Given how dependent on him the Ocampans were, it's doubtful they could figure out for themselves a different power-source. The forcefield protecting them from outsiders will most likely fail as the power dwindles and they'll eventually have to leave for the surface... where the Kazon are.
  • No Name Given: Due to a cut line, the name of the Maquis' ship is not mentioned, and it would not get an official name within the show until season seven, when its name is visible on a computer terminal: Val Jean.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Janeway and Chakotay have no intention of leaving without finding Harry and B'Elanna first. Then when Chakotay is injured while they're climbing out of the Ocampan city, Tom Paris goes back to get him, risking his life from the Orbital Bombardment of the Caretaker's energy pulses, and Neelix shows his Hidden Depths by doing likewise even though he could have beamed up to Voyager with Kes. All this forms the basis of a Fire-Forged Friendship between the main characters.
  • No Time to Explain
    • The Caretaker can't be bothered sending Voyager and the Maquis ship back home as he doesn't have the time. While it's because he regards them as Puny Earthlings, he really is running out of time as he's dying.
    • When the crew reappear on Voyager after being missing for three days, the EMH asks Tom Paris what's been happening. Tom doesn't even bother to answer him, because he's worried about Harry not beaming back with them.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Neelix immediately hugs Mr. Vulcan. And he hasn't had a bath in a long time.
  • Not Rare Over There: Inverted—the Kazon can't access the water on Ocampa, or even replicate it themselves.
  • Odd Couple:
  • Odd Friendship: Harry insists on remaining friends with Tom even though everyone else on Voyager is cold-shouldering him.
  • Opening Scroll: Leading to a Star Wars: A New Hope Shout-Out too.
    Unhappy with a new treaty, Federation Colonists along the Cardassian border have banded together.
    Calling themselves 'The Maquis', they continue to fight the Cardassians.
    Some consider them heroes, but to the governments of the Federation and Cardassia, they are outlaws.
  • Our Showers Are Different: Averted when Neelix takes a bath in the guest quarters. Previously he had to rely on a sand scrub. Given that Voyager can replicate its water, the usual restrictions would not be a problem (though later episodes would play it straight with 'sonic' showers).
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Janeway urging the Caretaker to let the Ocampa evolve through adversity.
  • Planet Looters: The Kazon-Ogla are (in B-Movie sci-fi tradition) trying to steal water! The Ocampan homeworld can't produce rain due to environmental damage by the Caretaker's race, so they beat Kes in a futile attempt to find out how to get into the Underground City. As he's dying the Caretaker persuades Janeway to destroy the Array for fear the Kazon will annihilate the Ocampa without his protection.
  • Plot-Demanded Manual Mode: A much larger spaceship is hammering Voyager. So Chakotay sets his even smaller vessel on a collision course, but his guidance system is disabled so he has to pilot it manually. He has Voyager put a transporter lock on him to beam him out at the last second.
  • Prime Directive: Tuvok argues that destroying the Array will violate the Prime Directive. Not for the last time, Janeway decides Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!.
  • Puny Earthlings: When Janeway demands her missing crew back from Banjo Man, and them all returned home, he scoffs, "Well, aren't you contentious for a minor bipedal species!"
  • Railing Kill: A variation; an explosion goes off behind a Red Shirt and he faceplants right into a Bridge railing!
  • Ramming Always Works: When Voyager is being hammered by a huge Kazon cruiser, Chakotay flies the Val Jean into it.
  • Reverse Armfold: Janeway dealing with Toscat.
  • Rope Bridge: Tom rescues Chakotay from a fire escape-style staircase in danger of collapsing.
  • Rousing Speech: Janeway gives one at the end of the episode.
    "We're alone in an uncharted part of the galaxy. We have already made some friends here, and some enemies. We have no idea of the dangers we're going to face, but one thing is clear. Both crews are going to have to work together if we're to survive. That's why Commander Chakotay and I have agreed that this should be one crew. A Starfleet crew. And as the only Starfleet vessel assigned to the Delta Quadrant, we'll continue to follow our directive to seek out new worlds and explore space. But our primary goal is clear. Even at maximum speeds, it would take seventy five years to reach the Federation, but I'm not willing to settle for that. There's another entity like the Caretaker out there somewhere who has the ability to get us there a lot faster. We'll be looking for her, and we'll be looking for wormholes, spatial rifts, or new technologies to help us. Somewhere along this journey, we'll find a way back. Mister Paris, set a course for home."
  • Sacrificial Lamb: We are introduced to the Betazoid helmswoman Stadi, an unnamed Chief Medical Officer, and Janeway's Number One, Lt. Commander Cavit. All are killed when Voyager is hurled across the galaxy, leaving their positions open for the Maquis characters and the EMH.
  • Sadistic Choice: Janeway struggles with the choice of use the Array to send her ship back to the Alpha Quadrant at the risk of endangering the Ocampa or destroying the Array to protect the Ocampa from the Kazon at the risk of stranding the Voyager crew in the Delta Quadrant, leading to a longer journey home.
  • Scenery Porn: Our first view of Voyager docked at Deep Space Nine, and later when it launches on her first mission, has the obligatory lingering shots.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The Caretaker tries and fails to destroy the Array, leaving Janeway to do the job herself, earning the ire of Janeway-bashers across Trek fandom.
  • She Is the King: Averted, despite it being established in Trek canon that superior officers are called sir regardless of gender. Janeway makes it clear she doesn't like it. "Ma'am is acceptable in a crunch, but I prefer Captain."
  • Shout-Out: The Action Prologue bears more than a passing resemblance to the opening of Star Wars: A New Hope — an Opening Scroll giving a bit of backstory regarding an ongoing conflict with dramatic music in the background, followed by a pan to a running firefight between a small rebel ship (Chakotay's Val Jean) and a large enemy ship (a Cardassian Galor-class destroyer). Only difference is, the rebel ship escapes, by pulling a Try and Follow into the Badlands' plasma storms.
  • Singing in the Shower: Neelix sings in the bathtub, much to the displeasure of Tuvok's Vulcan ears.
  • Single-Biome Planet: The Ocampan homeworld is a desert planet. A Justified Trope as this is due to an artificial disaster.
  • Space Station: The Caretaker Array, which has a Crew of One. Voyager is first seen docked at Deep Space Nine.
  • Space Western: The crew is beamed into a holographic simulation of a backwater ranch, with pitchfork wielding, banjo-playing nutters. Neelix has never had a bath. Water is treated as a precious commodity. Marauders are threatening the Array and its inhabitants. The Delta Quadrant of the galaxy is "frontier" space, uncharted and ungoverned.
  • Spinoff Sendoff: Starts with Voyager docked at Deep Space Nine.
  • Starfish Alien: Once the Banjo Man avatar goes offline, the Caretaker appears as a translucent blob creature.
  • Stock Footage: Some of the shots of the shuttle that takes Paris to Voyager are made up of this, which has the side-effect of the shuttle's registry periodically changing between that of Voyager and the Enterprise-D.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: The Doctor doesn't actually say this, but it's no doubt how he feels about dealing with two officers who don't know what trianaline is and can't tell the difference (or are unaware that there even is a difference) between a scientific tricorder and a medical one.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Tom Paris' backstory is very reminiscent of Nick Locarno from "The First Duty". They even have the same actor.
  • Take Our Word for It: Tom informs Janeway that the rest of Voyager's crew are scattered all over the farm, to save money on extras.
  • Team Mom: Janeway worries over Harry Kim even though she admits she barely knows him. She also tells off Chakotay for verbally abusing Tom Paris; this act probably does more to guarantee Tom's loyalty than anything else.
  • Teleportation: Neelix is astounded when Voyager beams him onto their ship, the technology being something new in the Delta Quadrant, though the Caretaker has no trouble teleporting people around whether they like it or not.
  • Terminally Dependent Society: The Ocampan dependence on the Caretaker Array. How dependent? We later learn that an Ocampan can only ever have a single child. Assuming that this is one child per Ocampa, male or female, every early death or miscarriage permanently reduces the Ocampan population.
  • This Means War!: A nicely understated version from Maje Jabin.
    "You have made an enemy today." (screen off)
  • Trash of the Titans: Trash of the Talaxians: Neelix has to clear the salvaged debris piled on his spaceship away from his viewscreen before he can talk to Captain Janeway.
  • Too Dumb to Live: When his captain orders the crew to brace for impact, Cavit chooses that moment to go running across the bridge.
  • True Meaning of Christmas: Tom sarcastically refers to this as part of a reference to A Christmas Carol when he tells Harry about why he told the truth about the accident he caused after lying about it.
    "The ghosts of those three dead officers came to me in the middle of the night and taught me the true meaning of Christmas."
  • Try and Follow: Chakotay flies his ship into a plasma storm in the Badlands to escape a pursuing Cardassian cruiser, which is damaged trying to follow them. Gul Evek puts in a report claiming that he forced the Maquis vessel into the Badlands where it was destroyed, but apparently Starfleet doesn't believe this so Voyager is sent to find it.
  • Underground City: Where the Ocampa live after the Caretaker's race accidentally destroyed their environment.
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: Tom argues with a replicator over tomato soup.
    "Fourteen varieties and they can't even get plain tomato soup right."
  • Violence is the Only Option
    Janeway: We have no dispute with you.
    Jabin: [on viewscreen] I have a dispute with anyone who would challenge us.
    Janeway: This is ridiculous. We have no intention of challenging you.
    Jabin: And I have no intention of letting anyone with your technological knowledge board the Array.
    Janeway: Jabin, can we discuss this like two civilised—(Transmission ends.) I guess we can't. (Screen Shake) Fire phasers. Evasive pattern, Delta Four.
  • Wake Up Fighting: B'Elanna in the Ocampan medical ward, forcing them to tranquilize her.
  • What the Hell, Heroine?
    Torres: What do you think you're doing? That Array is the only way we have to get back home!
    Janeway: I'm aware everyone has families and loved ones at homes they want to get back to. So do I. But I'm not willing to trade the lives of the Ocampa for our convenience. We'll have to find another way home.
    Torres: What other way home is there? Who is she to be making these decisions for all of us?!!
    Chakotay: She's The Captain.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Voyager's original first officer, doctor and pilot are all killed with only a few lines each to make room for their permanent replacements, who will form the show's main cast.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: Gul Evek, or at least in the larger context of the TNG-era shows. While he sends a distress call and his sensor records are given to Starfleet for Janeway's mission, he doesn't reappear before Voyager gets shanghaied. He likewise will not reappear over on Deep Space Nine for the remainder of its run. Probably justified given the whole point of Evek's character was to provide connective tissue between TNG and DS9 as the two shows laid the groudnwork for the Maquis and the build towards Voyager.
  • Window Love: Janeway is talking via Subspace Ansible to her fiance Mark, ending the conversation by blowing him a kiss and touching her fingers to the viewscreen. Before the episode is over they'll be 70,000 light years apart.
  • You Have No Chance to Survive
    Gul Evek: Maquis ship, this is Gul Evek of the Cardassian Fourth Order. Cut your engines and prepare to surrender or we will d— (Chakotay shuts him off)

Janeway: Mister Paris, set a course for home.