Times I Wanted to Straight Up Punch Captain Janeway

12 Oct

This is written for the DPChallenge: And Now For Something Completely Different.  I usually write about how the bomb Janeway is, so I decided, for a change, to write about times she sucks.

Love is such a complicated emotion, especially when the object of your affection is a fictional character who’s been written by more people than a priest-and-a-rabbi joke.

So, while in general I can’t get enough of Captain Janeway, sometimes she does something so absurd and out-of-character that I want to punch her.  Here are some of those times.

(Dis)Honorable Mention: 5.23 “11:59”

The Episode: Nothing’s happening out in the Delta Quadrant, so everybody starts researching his or her ancestors and talking about why these ancestors have been such great inspirations.  Most of the episode follows Janeway’s great-great-great-times-a-million grandma, Shannon O’Donnell, whom Janeway believed to be an astronaut.  Turns out, O’Donnell was just some out-of-work nobody who helped a bookstore owner come to terms with selling his store to a shopping mall.

Why I Want to Punch Her:  Janeway is so proud of her lame ancestor and so dejected when she finds out this lame ancestor was, indeed, lame.

Redeeming Quality: It’s not so much Janeway I want to punch–having childhood heroes and then being flummoxed/disheartened when they’re not that heroic is pretty human, after all.  Shannon O’Donnell, though.  Your story is SOOOO BORING, girl!

#5: 5.9 “Thirty Days”

The Episode:  Tom Paris gets all idealistic and tries to help an aquatic world gain autonomy and fix themselves.  He runs off adventuring to help them, and Janeway first threatens to leave him there for dead then demotes him, then puts him in the brig.

Why I Want to Punch Her:  Where to start?  All this episode’s stupid environmentalism–which is more the ’90s’s fault than Janeway’s.  Then Janeway gets all uppity about the Prime Directive, even though they’ve already been helping these people, and they’re not primitive by any means.  Then Janeway THREATENS TO LEAVE TOM FOR DEAD.  What?!  Janeway jumps on a shuttle to go after her wayward Borg more than once, but one little infraction, and Tom Paris is on his own?!  The demotion and brig parts I can understand, but the leaving-for-dead thing rubbed me all kinds of the wrong way.  She’s everyone’s mom; she can’t just do that!  Also, amid all this demotion, all I could think about was why she hasn’t promoted Harry Kim, the forever Ensign.

Redeeming Quality:  She is back to her old Mama Janeway ways by the end of the episode–being sad she had to do what she had to do and being so kind to Paris, etc.

#4: 2.15 “Threshold”

The Episode:  Tom Paris breaks the Warp 10 barrier, evolves into an allergic-to-water lizard, kidnaps Janeway, and has lizard babies with her.  The crew finds them and somehow turns them back into their old selves.

Why I Want to Punch Her:  1. Janeway lets this Warp 10 experiment happen even though she knows it is dangerous and stupid.  2. After the fiasco ends, she mentions giving Paris a commendation for doing this dangerous, stupid thing. 3. Instead of reprimanding Paris afterward, she flirts with him.

Redeeming Quality:  Everyone acknowledges that this episode sucks (even though it IS highly entertaining).  In fact, later in the series, someone even mentions that no one has broken the Warp 10 barrier, leaving this episode as some sort of bad dream.

#3: 5.1 “Night”

The Episode: Voyager finds herself in a star-less, bleak section of space, and this depresses Janeway so much that she holes up in her quarters.  Then the power goes out, and some aliens native to the area infiltrate the ship.  Voyager ends up trying to help the aliens negotiate with some other aliens who are dumping waste in the region.  The episode ends with Voyager destroying the wormhole that lets the waste-dumping aliens in.

Why I Want to Punch Her:  1. She spends most of the episode feeling sorry for herself and generally being whiny.  2. She neglects her crew’s feelings about having a captain who won’t appear on the bridge.
During this whole episode, I was saying stuff like, “This is not my Captain Janeway.  She would never do that!” because this is a selfish Captain Janeway.  I could accept a drunk, upset, self-pitying Janeway on her own off-time.  But making up excuses and shirking her duties for months on end?  Absolutely not.

“Take that, inside-out alien!”

Redeeming Quality:  She does save Chakotay and Neelix with a big gun.  And by the end of the episode realizes the error of her ways.

#2: 6.11 “Fair Haven”

The Episode: Tom Paris creates a fun, 19th-century Irish holoprogram called Fair Haven, and Janeway falls in love with a hologram (after having modified his program until he’s her perfect man).

Why I Want to Punch Her: Janeway modifies a holgram into her perfect man and then falls in love with him. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Redeeming Quality:  She wears pretty dresses?  And at least she doesn’t endanger the ship…

#1: 6.17 “Spirit Folk”

The Episode:  The Holoprogram Fair Haven proved so popular that they leave it on all the time, but this causes technobabble problems.  The holograms become more self-aware and think the Voyager crew are Spirit Folk.  They eventually take Tom and Harry captive.  After some negotiation, Janeway decides to have the program fixed–but to let the holograms know about Voyager’s real-life situation and let them become sentient, basically.

Why I Want to Punch Her:  She doesn’t want to get rid of her holographic boyfriend, so she endangers her flesh-and-blood crewmembers to fix the program.

Redeeming Quality:  Blech.  None.  Not only does Janeway act ridiculous, but this episode is also not even that fun to watch.

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7 Responses to “Times I Wanted to Straight Up Punch Captain Janeway”

  1. jenniesisler 31 October 2012 at 2:11 PM #

    LOL I think you reminded me of the best and worst of Voyager all at the same time. I loved this show but sometimes…I just wanted to scream at the inanity of it all. Thanks for sharing:)

    • TheBestofAlexandra 31 October 2012 at 9:01 PM #

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the comment, and it’s always great to hear from another Voyager fan!

      • Laura Lofgren 30 December 2012 at 2:29 PM #

        I love this- hilarious! I too really like Captain Janeway, but I have another time I wanted to punch her. Season 6 episode 1 (Equinox pt 2) – where Janeway goes on a total power trip and tries to go after the Equinox because of a vendetta, and even when Chakotay tries to stand up to her, she relieves him of his power. She’s a bitch in this episode! But at least at the end she sort of admits it…

      • TheBestofAlexandra 30 December 2012 at 6:54 PM #

        Thanks for the comment!
        I rather liked pissed, half-crazed Janeway going after people who trampled on everything she stood for and then realizing she was trampling on it, too.

  2. KL 21 July 2014 at 10:56 AM #

    This is why I love it when Seven of Nine talks back to Janeway and give her lip service!

  3. Katie 9 August 2015 at 4:12 AM #

    Most of your list is dead on, I felt that s:5e:2 “Drone” should’ve been on this list, I mean come on! She refuses to terminate the unborn drone in some stupid p.c. abortion parallel even though it was crazy dangerous. A Borg drone that advanced? had it gotten to the collective, that’s all folks! Terribly, terribly, irresponsible.

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