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Recap / Star Trek Voyager S 3 E 7 Sacred Ground

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While exploring the catacombs of a deeply religious civilization, Kes is zapped by a lethal force field, and Janeway must undergo a ritual to petition the peoples' religious figures to spare her life...


This episode provides examples of:

  • Buried Alive: Janeway is sealed inside a sarcophagus for a Commercial Break Cliffhanger.
    Janeway: I'm dying.
    Spirit guide: Everyone dies eventually. (lid slides shut)
  • Cliffs Of Insanity: Janeway is climbing huge cliffs with the requisite Climb, Slip, Hang, Climb...then we cut back to her holding the stone, as it's all an illusion.
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  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Kes gets a near fatal injury when she insists on peeking into a sacred shrine that turns out to be protected by Some Kind Of Forcefield.
  • The Determinator: Janeway
  • Don't Think, Feel: The three elderly supplicants urge Janeway to stop analysing everything and take a leap of faith.
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: Except young Janeway, apparently.
  • Fanservice: A lot more of Janeway than we've ever seen before, and that's saying something.
  • Gut Feeling: And it won't be the last time Janeway puts her gut instinct over logic.
  • Hallucinations: Much of what Janeway experienced was an illusion.
  • Hand in the Hole: Janeway has to stick her hand into a basket with a nesset — some creature that makes hissing noises. It bites her.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: The Nechani Magistrate: "I'm an official of the government, not a spiritual leader."
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  • Letting Her Hair Down: Janeway lets down her Bun of Steel.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: The guide repairing the light fixture looks like someone they called in for the job, but she turns out to be a monk as well, who fully comprehends the technology Janeway is using.
  • Mama Bear: We see this yet again in Janeway; she'll do anything to protect her people, even undergo a potentially dangerous biochemical change.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Janeway is left wondering at the end of the episode whether the whole thing was scientific or supernatural.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Everything you did was meaningless."
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Chakotay, out of all people, who is fond of vision quests and does believe that there are things that science can't explain, is acting unusually skeptical here. It seems that his protective feelings towards Janeway are overruling his acceptance of religious stuff.
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  • Pietà Plagiarism: Janeway carrying a comatose Kes into the shrine.
  • Right in Front of Me: Janeway's guide turns out to be the woman fixing the light.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: While Janeway is finger-painting, she gripes that her sister was the artist of the family. While the other children were playing games, she preferred to study.
  • Secret Test of Character: In the same way as a certain farm boy was tested, though being of a more disciplined mind, Janeway saw the nature of the test and acquiesced more quickly.
    • Also, how Janeway is able to get the answers she needs to help Kes: she sits with the waiting elderly people, whom she earlier dismissed as insignificant, and talks with them.
  • Science Hero: Janeway is convinced there's a scientific basis to all this, and proceeds accordingly.
  • Team Mom: Janeway is able to take the ritual on this basis, as there was a precedent in which a Nechani king took the ritual on behalf of his injured son. As The Captain she is both ruler and surrogate parent to Kes.
  • Technobabble: How the Doctor explains everything at the end. For once Janeway is not convinced.
  • Tracking Device: A subdermal device is used to monitor Janeway's condition and track her movements. The monks know about it, but let her proceed regardless.
  • Vision Quest: Janeway undergoes one when she suffers a snake bite.
  • Your Door Was Open: When Janeway opens the opposite door to their chamber, the Grumpy Old Man says, "I told you it was unlocked!"
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: There are ordeals, trials by poison, a rebirth ritual, and a cryptic vision — all because Janeway expects it to go that way. One of the elderly people even comments that she made things way harder on herself than most petitioners.
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