The Worst Episodes of Star Trek: Voyager (That I Happen to Like)

19 Dec

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  Star Trek: Voyager is the red-headed stepchild of the Star Trek franchise, but, the thing is, I’ve always had a soft spot for gingers.  This soft spot is very large for anything totally ’90s and cheesy with plenty of action, so-so acting on occasion, copious CGI, and an interminably, bountifully sassy HBIC.  All of this adds up to, even though Voyager sometimes deals us some *bad hands, I still see some aces among the worst of them.

I present to you now the seven worst episodes **that I still very much enjoy.

Season 1: “Parallax”

Torres and Janeway talk science in Parallax

Pictured L-R: Torres; Reconciliation through Technobabble/Palpable Science Girl Excitement; Janeway; Season 1 Bun

The Episode:  They haven’t chosen a chief engineer yet.  Chakotay’s Maquis candidate is belligerent Starfleet drop-out B’elanna Torres while Janeway’s gunning for broken-nosed (by B’elanna Torres, no less) Lieutenant Carey.  Meanwhile, Voyager is stuck in the event horizon of a quantum singularity and trying very desperately to get out.

Why It’s Bad:  It’s really one of the only Maquis vs. Federation episodes and doesn’t make much of the premise.  Also, I guess the science is nonsense?

Why I Still Like It:  I am a sucker for B’elanna Torres episodes.  Oh, you want to split her into a Klingon half and a human half and have them talk to each other?  Sure, sounds awesome.  Oh, she’s upset about some Maquis deaths and feels the need to hurt herself a lot?  Absolutely.  Oh, she’s crash-landed on an ancient Greece planet and serves as a muse for a playwright?  Quelle fun!  Oh, she needs to go to Klingon Hades and save her mom and be Xena, the Klingon Warrior Princess?  Now we’re talking!

Oh, you want her to be all belligerent and get all up in Janeway’s grill spouting technobabble and then become BFFs with Janeway because of their mutual love of technobabble?  I will be there with SO MANY bells on!  And that’s why I like this episode:  technobabble and girl bonding.

Also, this episode takes place in the good old days when they still had Federation vs. Maquis conflict and Lt. Carey was around once in a while and Seska was hamming it up everywhere (I miss Seska so!) and we all thought B’elanna would get together with Harry.  Which actually makes a lot more sense to me than her with Tom.  They really would have been the cutest together.  Then she could’ve still been kind of a Maquis badass instead of having to play straight man to Tom’s shenanigans.

Season 2: “The Thaw”

The Episode:  Voyager finds a planet that recently suffered some disaster and a bunch of people were in stasis pods for the duration of it.  They were supposed to have been released when the disaster was over but have not been released.  A few of them are dead.  Janeway decides they should get these people out of stasis, but oh snap! they’re all connected mentally in a dream-virtual-reality world that has become sentient, and the ruler of this world is an evil clown, who is the embodiment of fear and who feeds off these people’s fear and can read their minds and stuff.

Why It’s Bad:  It’s a silly concept, and Janeway should not have gotten involved in the first place.

Why I Still Like It:  The episode genuinely frightened me the first time I saw it.  Plus, Janeway shows her trickster badass side, a side that comes out even better in the far better episode “Counterpoint.”

Season 3: “Warlord”

Tiny Lady Warlord Kes unsuccessfully attempts to seduce Tuvok

Tiny Lady Warlord Kes unsuccessfully attempts to seduce Tuvok.

The Episode:  A usurper to the throne of some alien world and his lady friend and some other dude are trying to usurp the throne a lot.  The usurper’s body dies, and his soul takes up residence in Kes, who prances around as a tiny lady warlord.  Usurping ensues and then is thwarted.

Why It’s Bad:  This plot device pretty much serves to let Kes prance around being a badass.  Other than that it’s a cliché storyline.

Why I Still Like It:  This episode feels like straight up Xena to me.  We’ve got silly plot devices and overacting and body jumping and girls being warlords.  It’s nutty and fun and action packed.

Season 4: “The Killing Game”

French Resistance Janeway is one of my very favorite Janeways.

French Resistance Janeway is one of my very favorite Janeways.

The Episode:  Alien hunter race–the Hirogen–take control of Voyager and expand its holodecks so that they can hunt the crew in different scenarios over and over again. The main one in the episode is a WWII French town where Janeway leads la Résistance, and the Hirogen are Nazis, and Chakotay leads a battalion of Yanks.

Why It’s Bad:  I keep seeing this two-parter ranked low, and I guess I sort of understand the reasoning. I suppose it is sort of cliché and has some plot holes and can be considered a silly action throwaway in general.

Why I Still Like It:  I blame it on my first love, Indiana Jones. Gimme some trickster rogues, fabulous outfits, swing music, one-liners, action scenes, and Nazis, and I am more than set. I just can’t get enough of WWII Janeway. The whole thing just really works for me.

Side anecdote:  My dad came over a while back, and he hadn’t yet seen the gigantic TV my roommate had bought.  So, to give him a sample of how glorious this TV is, I put on this episode of Voyager because I knew he would appreciate both Seven in that shimmery silver dress and Janeway in that sparkly tux even though he knows nothing of Star Trek.

Season 5: “Think Tank”

Janeway: Seven of Nine, I order you to out-think the think tank by solving my Space Rubik’s Cube! Seven: I will comply.

The Episode:  A group of super-intelligent space hucksters who call themselves a think tank trade thoughtful solutions to space probz for very valuable stuff like people and space jewels.  Sometimes they create the probz that they will come along and fix for a fee.  They decide they want Seven of Nine and try to negotiate with Janeway for her by saying they’ll help Voyager out of an impossible-seeming situation with some mean aliens.

Why It’s Bad:  A contrived plot, Janeway treats Seven like property for some of it, and the dialogue is SOOOOOO ’90s.

Why I Still Like It:  Janeway has too many cheesy one-liners to count.  It consistently makes me laugh with its ’90s cheesiness.  Oh man, next time I watch, I should count how many times Janeway says, “out-think a think tank.”  I know it’s at least twice, but I have the feeling it’s even more than that.  Even once is too many times in real life, but in the world of Janeway…

Season 6: “Tsunkatse”

Seven's neural implants obviously did not register what the Alien Rock was cooking.

Seven’s neural implants obviously did not register what the Alien Rock was cooking.

The Episode: Seven and Tuvok end up kidnapped by space Vince McMahon, and Seven is forced to fight to the death a lot.  She fights The Rock, and then she has to fight the dude (who’s an honorable Hirogen, of course) who’s been coaching her.  It’s all very pathos-ful, you know.

Why It’s Bad: WWF in SPAAAACE.

Why I Still Like It: WWF in SPAAAACE!!!!!!!!!

Season 7: “Drive”

Lol derpy Tom

Pictured: Cutest.

The Episode: Tom Paris enters the Delta Flyer (newly remade from that time Janeway destroyed it going to a Borg cube a few episodes prior?) into a sub-warp race.  A girl Harry falls for sabotages errbody, and Harry has to be a badass for a minute to take her down.  Meanwhile, Tom decides he likes it and puts a ring on it (B’elanna being it, of course).

Why It’s Bad:  Cheesy love scenes, kinda bad story, Nascar in SPAAAAACE.

Why I Still Like It:  Mama Janeway is totally Mama Janeway throughout (thinks it’ll be great fun for her boys to enter a race, cheers them on, is so upset when they’re losing, has no sense of personal space with the aliens who come aboard to officiate the race), and, as I’ve stated previously, I’m a sucker for B’elanna Torres episodes.  Also, the outfits are so cute, and so is Harry.

Miscellaneous other bad episodes I like (in alphabetical order):

“The Fight”: Ok, so it’s pretty stupid.  But I found it surreal and intriguing.

“The Haunting of Deck Twelve”:  It had me loling throughout.

“Macrocosm”:  I refuse to concede this is a bad episode.  Janeway takes off her tunic and runs around the deserted ship engaging in hand-to-hand combat with giant CGI mutated viruses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  This is the first episode of Voyager I really, truly loved.

“Relativity”: I refuse to concede this is a bad episode.  No, we’ve got time travel and Borgness and girl bonding and a return of the season 1 bun.  Love it SOOO MUCH!

“Sacred Ground”: I like the idea of this episode and the story and the absurdism, but I do not like the execution.  It was one of those, like “Night,” where I kept saying, “This is not my Captain Janeway.”  She’s supposed to be this science girl balking at faith, but we know she’s gone on a vision quest with Chakotay and that she was pretty open-minded when she was comforting Harry at the end of “Emanations.”  Very out of character, but the acting is good, and the mood is good.

“Threshold”: So it laughs in the face of physics, good taste, and good sense.  So what!  Lizard babies!

“Unforgettable”:  Chakotay and Virigina Madsen–in full-out Lifetime Original Movie mode–make a pretty cute couple.  It had me on the edge of my seat even as I knew it was stupid, much like a Lifetime movie, in fact.

*Of course, I know that “bad” can be subjective, so I did a little research to see what other people deemed sub-par so I could be as objective as possible in choosing the candidates.  My main research came from the following sites: the one that seems most reliable; the one where I agree with a lot of what he says, but I’m not sure I can forgive him for disliking Janeway sothe one I don’t really trust because the person gave both “11:59” and “Pathfinder” five stars, and those episodes are SOOOOOO lame; this snarky one; and this other snarky one.   And how can I forget Let’s Watch Star Trek.

**Bonus Grammar:  Notice I’ve said these are the worst episodes that I enjoy, not the worst episodes which I enjoy.  The adjective clause here is essential because it tells us which worst episodes I still like even though they’re bad.  If I would have used which instead, it would’ve been a nonessential clause and therefore would’ve meant that these are the absolute worst episodes and I like them, which is not the case at all.  There are plenty of bad episodes that I do not like, including but not limited to “Fair Haven,” “Spirit Folk,” “Tattoo,” and “Emanations.”

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8 Responses to “The Worst Episodes of Star Trek: Voyager (That I Happen to Like)”

  1. silverscreenings 26 December 2012 at 6:08 PM #

    You know, I have never seen a single episode of this show. But now I think I should try to see at least one episode.

    • TheBestofAlexandra 26 December 2012 at 6:25 PM #

      Oh goodness! If you watch only one episode, which should you watch? I feel a great responsibility heaped onto my shoulders… Um… Since I know you love divas–as I do–I might suggest “Counterpoint.” It’s in Season 5 someplace, and Janeway shows some super divatude. Also there’s a lot of trickery, foreshadowing, symbolic dialogue (that’s kind of cheesy), and classical music.

  2. EW 7 March 2015 at 12:32 AM #

    The episode titled “11:59” is the most boring and worthless episode in the Voyager series to date. Love the series, but there are a few worthless ones for sure. The worst one may be where Neelix dies and they actually bring his worthless character back to life!

    • TheBestofAlexandra 7 March 2015 at 12:46 AM #

      I can get on board with you about 11:59, but I will defend Neelix with my dying breath.

      • Carolyn Snow (@afistfulofsky) 2 September 2015 at 8:04 PM #

        I agree… and actually I really liked the episode where Neelix died. Really interesting contemplations about religion, and the meaning of life. Also, I can’t believe that an episode where a main character tried to kill themselves wasn’t even remotely interesting??

  3. Moonlitfaith 30 November 2016 at 4:01 PM #

    So much fun and badass girl power love we could be friends.
    And yes pretty much if it has B’Elenna I’m in love no matter the plot 🙂

    • TheBestofAlexandra 30 November 2016 at 7:25 PM #

      I welcome most new friends, especially those with B’elanna Torres proclivities 😉 Thanks for the comment!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Why Fans of Classic Movies Should Like Star Trek: Voyager | I Started Late and Forgot the Dog. - 11 May 2013

    […] classic-movie blogger.  Several posts ago, I talked about Voyager’s still enjoyable bad episodes, and she commented that she’d never watched the show […]

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