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Recap / Star Trek: Voyager S5 E25, S6 E1: "Equinox"

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Another Federation ship in the Delta Quadrant? Man, what are the odds of that?
Voyager encounters another Federation ship that has been stranded in the Delta Quadrant, only to discover that they have been using aliens as a power source and a means to get back home.

An interesting note: part 1 of this episode is the last episode of Voyager to air concurrently to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

This episode provides examples of

  • Action Prologue: Equinox under attack.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Burke calls B'Elanna "BLT" (her initials) and she calls him "petaQ". When Tom shows symptoms of jealousy over this, Harry calls him "Turkey Platter" (TP being his initials).
    • And then Jim "Reviewboy" Wright gets into the act:
      "Clapping Tom on the elbow in a sympathetic "sucks to be you" gesture, Hot Kimchinote  leaves Turkey Platternote  to simmer in his own juices."
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: The nucleogenic lifeforms don't believe that humans would really attack other humans, although a quick perusal of any era of human history could clear up that misconception.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: After Ransom okays operating on Seven and tries to cover with I Did What I Had to Do.
    Seven: You destroy lifeforms to attain your goals, then claim that they left you no choice. Does that logic comfort you?
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  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Seven forgives the Doctor for turning evil and doing unauthorised brain surgery, but points out that his rendition of My Darling Clementine was off key. The Doctor challenges her to a duet.
  • Asshole Victim: The Equinox crew that mutinied against Captain Ransom following his Heel–Face Turn, including B'Elanna's old flame.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Turns out that there's a regulation about this for combat situations (specifically Regulation 191, Article 14), as Janeway explains to Ransom. In real-world militaries, it's usually the senior captain who would make the final call, based on date of promotion, but in Starfleet it's who has the badder ship. (Although the episode's novelization reveals that Janeway only quotes half the regulation, and it doesn't actually allow her to order Ransom and his crew to Abandon Ship.)
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  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: When asked, Janeway tells Ransom that she's never broken the Prime Directive, just... "bent" it on occasion. Now the show's just screwing with us.
  • Bond One-Liner: After the Doctor deletes the Equinox EMH and shuts off the transmission to Burke.
    Doctor: I'm afraid your physician is no longer on call.
  • Broken Pedestal: Janeway always wanted to meet Ransom. Be Careful What You Wish For...
  • The Chains of Commanding: Ransom cites these for his actions, feeling that getting the paltry remains of his crew home necessitated using sentient creatures as fuel.
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject: When Janeway asks Ransom about his Prime Directive violations, he says something ambiguous about "walking that line once or twice" before drawing attention to the fallen dedication plaque on The Bridge.
  • Cliffhanger: An alien swoops down on Captain Janeway...To Be Continued. Yeah right, Like You Would Really Do It.
  • Combat Pragmatist: After earlier being outsmarted by the Equinox's EMH, The Doctor wins round two by simply telling the computer to delete its program.
  • Continuity Nod: According to Star Trek: Insurrection, thermolytic reactions are very bad for organic beings. This episode shows why.
  • Critical Staffing Shortage: Equinox has this bad, especially since they went through over half of their Red Shirts only a month after getting pulled into the Delta Quadrant. On the other hand, the survivors help alleviate Voyager's problems in this area, once they've been knocked down a few pips.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Everyone's reaction to "Captain's Assistant" Naomi Wildman introducing herself to Ensign Gilmore.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: When Chakotay says that she's getting a little vendetta-y, Janeway says that she's simply going to hunt Ransom down "whatever it takes, no matter the cost" as though that's not the very definition of the word vendetta.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The Equinox EMH poses as his Voyager self to free his crewmates in Voyager's brig.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Seven forgives the Doctor for his actions, and they make a date for some Duet Bonding on the holodeck.
    • Despite spending most of the second half baying for his blood, one conciliatory hail from the deposed Ransom is all it takes for her to decide he's acting in good faith again.
    • Janeway and Chakotay also resolve their falling-out after a short discussion about their actions and the symbolic way the ship's nameplate fell off the wall. This in particular is said to be one of the things that soured Ronald D. Moore on writing for the show, as he just found it completely ridiculous, even going so far as to write on the episode's script "This is a total betrayal of the audience. This is wrong. You can't end the show like this. If you are going to do all this other stuff, you can't end the show like this, because it's not fair, because it's not true, and it just wouldn't happen."
    • Averted with the survivors of the Equinox. Janeway strips of their ranks, putting them under supervision and having few privileges aboard.
  • Energy Beings: The aliens.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: As ruthless as he is, even Ransom is disturbed enough by the EMH singing in harmony with a half-lobotomized Seven that he has to leave.
  • Evil Twin: The Equinox EMH is this for the Doctor.
    • Evil Counterpart: However he shares the loyalty to his crew and the willingness to take the initiative to save them.
  • Fallen Hero: Captain Ransom of the Equinox.
  • Famous Last Words:
    Ransom: You've got a fine crew, Captain! Promise me you'll get 'em home!
    Janeway: I promise.
  • Finish Dialogue in Unison
    Janeway: We've been stranded in the Delta Quadrant for five years. We were pulled here against our will by an alien called—
    Ransom/Janeway: ...the Caretaker.
  • First-Name Basis: Janeway notices this among the Equinox crew and points it out to Ransom. (She is also on first-name basis with her senior staff, but they haven't entered first-name basis with her except for Chakotay.)
    Ransom: When you've been in the trenches for as long as we have, rank and protocol are luxuries.
  • Going Down with the Ship: Ransom.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Janeway and Chakotay are interrogating Noah Lessing. Janeway wants Lessing to give her the tactical status of the Equinox's captain, Ransom. She threatens to lower the shields in the room, which would allow the aliens an opening to get through and attack him, while she and Chakotay leave the room. Lessing demonstrates his familiarity with this trope, looking at Chakotay and asking "I suppose the plan is that you're going to come to my rescue now, right?" Chakotay, however, admits that "There's no plan as far as I know. The Captain's on her own." When Lessing continues not to talk, Janeway and Chakotay leave the room and Janeway proceeds to do just what she said she was going to do, shocking Chakotay, who thought she was only bluffing. Chakotay ends up going in there to rescue Lessing. (He does crack, but not before being badly spooked.)
  • Hallucinations: Ransom tries to escape his conscience in his Happy Place, a personal holoimager, but keeps running into Seven of Nine there.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The extra-dimensional aliens have to open portals into our universe to attack. When a portal forms, the first thing people hear is a high-pitched, whining hiss. It's pretty creepy for the characters, who are asking, "WHERE IS IT? WHERE IS IT?". If they aren't fast enough, it's the last sound they'll hear.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Janeway slides down the rungs as she relentlessly pursues Ransom.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Ransom after seeing hallucinations of Seven.
    • Janeway admits at the end that Chakotay had good reason to oppose her.
  • Hope Spot: In a sense, the penultimate act of part I comes across as this. The crimes of Ransom and his crew are exposed and they've been locked up, Janeway and her officers are looking for a way to communicate with the creatures, and a peaceful resolution seems imminent. Then the Doctor is disabled by his Evil Twin who releases Ransom and the others from confinement, and then they escape on the Equinox with Seven as their prisoner, leaving Voyager under attack. To Be Continued...
  • Hourglass Plot: Ransom and Janeway swap roles in the second episode, with Janeway feeling the pressure and compromising her ideals, while Ransom rediscovers his humanity.
  • Humans Are Bastards: After what the Equinox crew put them through, it's understandable why the aliens would feel this way.
  • I Can't Feel My Legs: Noah Lessing when Harry and Seven find him. Fortunately, his legs are still there, and he's later seen moving under his own power.
  • Ice Queen: Seven.
    Burke: You might try letting your shields down, or it's going to be a lonely trip.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Janeway doesn't buy it when Ransom tries to justify his actions via the Starfleet rulebook.
    Ransom: Starfleet Regulation 3, Paragraph 12: "In the event of imminent destruction, a captain is authorized to preserve the lives of his crew by any justifiable means."
    Janeway: I doubt that protocol covers mass murder.
    Ransom: In my judgement, it did.
    Janeway: UNacCEPTable!
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty:
    • Seven is operated on by the Doctor-turned-evil.
    • Captain Ransom is clearly taken by his beautiful captive, and offers to replace Janeway as a role model, but Seven coldly refuses him and continues to appear as a hallucination to needle Ransom's conscience.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: The Equinox survivors end up on the bottom of Voyager's food chain.
  • I Owe You My Life: Lessing expresses his gratitude to Seven of Nine, his "Angel of Mercy."
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Even the Voyager crew is tested in this regard.
  • Just Following Orders: Ransom pleads for leniency for his crew, saying they were just doing this. Janeway's response: "Their mistake."
  • Karmic Death: Certain crew members of the Equinox got seriously owned by the very aliens they were using.
  • Knockout Ambush: Tom and Chakotay pull this on Lessing and an Equinox Red Shirt.
  • Loophole Abuse: Attempted by Ransom, who when called out by Janeway on his killing the aliens invokes a Starfleet regulation permitting a captain to take any justifiable action to stave off the imminent destruction of their ship. Janeway quickly points out that no sane person would consider mass-murder a "justifiable action".
  • The Mole: The Equinox EMH posing as the Doctor on board Voyager.
  • Mood Dissonance: Ransom is disturbed by Seven Strapped to an Operating Table, mindlessly singing a duet with the Mad Doctor who's operating on her brain.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: The EMH aboard the USS Equinox had his "ethical subroutines" removed. It shows.
  • The Mutiny: Burke mutinies against Ransom when he wants to surrender. Janeway mentions Chakotay could have done the same when she walked right up to the Moral Event Horizon, but he says it would have been "crossing a line".
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Janeway's face in the final scene, when it dawns on her how Not So Different she'd been from Ransom.
  • New Old Flame: For BLT. Too bad he turns out to be a treacherous jerk who'd rather let her become a victim of the aliens that were attacking them.
  • No Sense of Distance: The Equinox met the Ankari more than 10,000 lightyears from where they meet Voyager, but Janeway is later able to meet with them within 50 lightyears.
  • Noodle Incident: A very dark example - early in their voyage, the Equinox encountered a species called the Krowtonan Guard. Nothing is mentioned about them except they are very territorial and Ransom's decision to cross their space cost the lives of over half his crew.
  • Not So Different: Done symbolically. When the Voyager crew first help repair the Equinox Janeway and Ransom notice the dedication plaque was knocked off the wall in the fighting. At the end, Chakotay and Janeway notice that Voyager's dedication plaque was knocked off in the fight against Equinox. Janeway laments that its never fallen off in any of their other battles, and is noticeably rattled by it.
  • Perp Sweating: Captain Janeway threatens to let the aliens have their way with an Equinox crew member she captured to make him start talking. Chakotay thinks this is going too far and ends up getting the information out of the crew member without letting the aliens get at him.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Or in this case, CGI fish aliens.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Captain Ransom goes down with his ship.
  • Red Shirt: In addition to all the casualties on the Equinox, several nameless shmucks on Voyager bite the dust, one of whom flatlines in Sickbay.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Janeway fully admits that she's going to get Ransom no matter what it takes. She eschews Chakotay's suggestion that they prioritize communication with the aliens in favor of hunting down the Equinox, which is what they have to resort to in the end anyhow.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The aliens mercilessly attack the Equinox for killing several of their own. When Voyager flies in to help, her crew become targets as well.
    • Part 2 is one long example of this from Janeway, who is absolutely furious at what Ransom had done, and gets in a pretty dangerous mindset while hunting him down.
  • Serkis Folk: The aliens in this episode.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Hallucination Seven looks equally hot wearing a dress and minus the implants.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Marla Gilmore panics in turbolifts because they have no escape route in case fissures open up.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In-Universe—while lobotomizing Seven, the Doctor sings "Clementine" and an improvised variant of "Dem Bones." Ransom is clearly disturbed by it.
  • Status Quo Is God: Ronald D. Moore was furious over how the Janeway/Chakotay conflict was just dropped at the end of the episode and never brought up again. Neither do we hear about the former Equinox crew who are on probation, even in "Good Shepherd" which deals with several problematic crewmembers.
  • Subverted Catchphrase: The Equinox EMH posing as the Doctor, seeing Voyager's sickbay littered with casualties.
    "Please state the nature of the... [looks around] don't bother."
  • Tastes Like Friendship: At the end of the episode, Janeway and Chakotay reconcile by agreeing to bring salad and croutons to Neelix's potluck.
  • Temporarily a Villain: The Doctor was reprogrammed to perform unethical-at-best medicine by the Equinox crew.
  • The Triple: After Seven criticises his singing, the Doctor insists they meet on the holodeck. "You, me...and a tuning fork."
  • The Unfettered: Evil!Doc enjoys it, as it makes him more efficient.
  • Villain Has a Point: Ransom.
    "It's easy to cling to your principles when you're standing on a vessel with its bulkheads intact, manned by a crew that's not starving."
  • Weak-Willed: Turning off his Morality Chip turns the Doctor instantly evil, despite the Equinox EMH showing crew loyalty without ethical subroutines. At the end of the episode, Seven promises to beef up his security with some Borg algorithms.
  • Wham Line: The line that reveals just how far gone the Equinox crew is, before Equinox's EMH disables Voyager's and the Equinox crew retakes their ship:
    Equinox's EMH: They deleted my ethical subroutines.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The first alien was killed solely by accident, but the Equinox crew began doing it on purpose to get home. When continuing their practices means operating on Seven, Ransom realizes how much he's devalued sentient beings.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The Equinox crew are absorbed into Voyager's crew and we never hear from them again.
    • The Doctor's ethical subroutines are deleted, causing him to act against Seven. However, when Captain Ransom beams everyone that he can back over to Voyager, The Doctor appears in Sickbay and promptly deletes the Equinox EMH. The prevailing theory is that Ransom restored his subroutines before sending him back over, but if he did, we never see it happen on-screen.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Chakotay isn't shy about telling Janeway this. And Janeway isn't shy about removing him from duty for getting in her way.
  • With Due Respect: When Ransom announces his intention to cooperate with Janeway.
    Burke: Rudy, with all due respect, have you lost your mind?
    Ransom: Just the opposite.
  • You're Cute When You're Angry: B'Elanna says Tom is cute when he's jealous.

Example of: