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Star Trek Voy - Season 6 - Episode 01

Star Trek Voy - 6x01 - Equinox, Part II

Originally Aired: 1999-9-22

Synopsis:
A renegade starship causes problems for Voyager. [DVD]

My Rating - 8

Fan Rating Average - 6.11

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 34 1 2 2 1 5 6 9 46 22 20

Problems
- How can the Ankari only be 50 light years from Voyager when Ransom has traveled in excess 10,000 light years on the nucleogenic aliens since he first met them? Do they use the nucleogenic aliens to travel too? ;)

Factoids
None

Remarkable Scenes
- Ransom: "You know, Janeway's not the only captain who can help you explore your humanity." Seven: "You would be an inferior role model."
- The evil Voyager EMH singing as he extracts information from Seven of Nine.
- Voyager locating and battling the Equinox.
- Janeway interrogating Lessing.
- Chakotay saving Lessing.
- Janeway negotiating with the nucleogenic aliens.
- The evil Voyager EMH making Seven of Nine sing.
- Burke regarding Ransom's decision to surrender: "Rudy, with all due respect, have you lost your mind?"
- Burke taking over the Equinox.
- Voyager's second battle with the Equinox.
- The Voyager EMH deleting the Equinox EMH.
- Ransom undermining Burke's efforts, letting the aliens destroy his ship.
- Burke's foolish attempt to make it to the shuttle bay.
- Ransom going down with his ship.

My Review
Well, it seems my predictions all came true. Nobody important died in the cliffhanger and Janeway tracked down the Equinox and destroyed it. The second part even managed to make another fairly serious distance / speed mistake documented in the problems section. That said though, the second part is a a lot better than the first. Janeway becomes Captain Ahab hunting her Ransom and she starts to let her ethics slip, ironically all in the name of protecting ethical behavior. There's a method to her madness though. She's angry that Ransom and his crew are murdering the nucleogenic aliens and she's willing to make sure they pay for their crimes at any cost. Janeway was most certainly in "the ends justify the means" mode here. To her, stopping the killing and salvaging relations with these aliens was more important to than the Equinox crew's lives. This of course breeds a nice level of conflict between Chakotay and Janeway. And the various space battles in the episode were quite spectacular. In the end, it's fitting that Ransom finally realizes he'd made a critical mistake and decides to go down with his ship. I liked the look of forgiveness in Janeway's eyes when Ransom was about to meet his end.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From Pete Miller on 2006-12-23 at 9:21pm:
    I thought that Janeway was really off base in this episode. She has always been something of a hypocrite, but it's really clear here. She will lecture Ransom about being ethical, and then try to execute a fellow officer. She seemed to be insane with revenge, even surpassing Sisko's obsession with Eddington. It's damn scary that she was allowed to continue in command of the ship, despite constant objections from her first and second officers regarding ethics and tactical decisions. She absolutely should have been relieved of duty, not Chakotay.

    This leads me to another point about Voyager that I'll keep brief. The structure and order aboard Voyager is pathetic. Janeway regularly has loud arguments with Chakotay, as well as other crewmembers, on the bridge. She NEVER listens to anyone, even (especially) if they are right. The first officer is a really weak person, and just shuts up when he is overruled. (Point in case this episode when Chakotay just goes to his room like he's been bad) Can you imagine Picard and Riker screaming at each other on the bridge, or Picard ranting to Worf loudly while they both walk out of the ready room? Of course not.

    Bottom Line: Janeway is a terrible captain. The worst. I'm sorry to all her fans out there, but she's irrational, impulsive, vengeful, and spiteful.
  • From Bernard on 2010-03-29 at 5:58pm:
    Just been revisiting some of my favourite episodes of voyager, which isn't many, but anyway.

    Just a couple of comments on this episode:

    The two parter as a whole is very good. Unfortunately, and as per usual for Voyager as a whole, there are missed opportunities. I love the clash in styles between the two ships, I love seeing a ship that has been in the delta quadrant and under constant threat. The Equinox has obviously suffered major losses and damage, very realistic. I liked the plot in general, Janeway has to stop the renegade captain.

    What I don't like is how the Equinox crew are all written to be psychopaths. Why did they have to polarise the episode like that? If the lines had been made more blurry they could even have written some voyager crew as having sympathy with the Equinox crew thus creating tension between Janeway and crew. Also they could have created some sympathy for the Equinox crew from the viewer, making the inevitable ending all the more effective.

    I also dislike how Janeway is written for the second part of this two-parter. I agree with all of the points made by Pete. She is out of character, even for Janeway, and it seems ridiculous that Chakotay ends up relieved of duty!
  • From Steve Mohns on 2012-08-23 at 12:12am:
    Agreed with the above comments. I was thinking after watching this show again, that the person who should have mutinied was Kate Mulgrew when she saw the script. After 5 seasons she should have known the character and the series well enough to recognize that this was out of character and a good way to ruin the legacy of her version of a Starship captain. The basic Captain Ahab idea of the writers was a good one. We saw it with Picard in "Star Trek: First Contact". We saw it with Kirk in "Obsession". And we saw it with Archer in the Xindi arc. In each of these cases the personal conflict that shaped the actions of those captains was a good one, and the way they responded was believable. All were well executed. But the writers did a poor job on both counts for Janeway and diminished her character in the process. And Chakotay says that mutinying would have been crossing the line? Hardly, with the behaviour she showed. Bones would have relieved her from duty in a nanosecond. Spock or Riker would have hesitated to mutiny out of Star Fleet duty. Archer or Picard would have had her in the brig to stay, and she never have been trusted again.

    Entertaining episode, but a major flaw.
  • From Jem 5x5 on 2013-10-13 at 6:52pm:
    Just watched this episode on a first-time run through Voyager, and I genuinely thought Janeway must have been somehow possessed by the alien that knocked her over at the start of he episode, she was so wildly out of character.
  • From Hugo on 2015-02-18 at 9:23am:
    I hope we will see some of the adopted Equinox crew in the future! I thought Marla (the engineer) seemed like an interesting character.

    Wasn't it odd that there were only humans on Equinox btw?
  • From parkbench on 2016-02-23 at 5:56am:
    i was just so absolutely happy with this two-parter. i wish every voyager episode was like this.

    i wish they did story arcs, or something like this kind of character depth, transformation, fragility. so many twists and unexpected turns--not in anything "dangerous", as site author mentioned (obviously Janeway was never going to be in danger)--but how the different alignments of good/evil played out, with ransom coming round in the end.

    i also appreciated it because it respected the intelligence of the viewer--rather than bluntly hitting us over the head with janeway going a little bonkers you see it happening slowly--and while chakotay vocalises it, other characters make noted faces or brief objections but the point is not belabored. a lot is left to the imagination which is good; there are no gratuitous scenes of people debating how far gone the captain is--still leaving it, in a sense, up in the air, though by that time i was with chakotay.

    and that's perhaps the greatest thing about this two-parter: it's the first time in...almost ever (with a voyager episode at least) that i felt like they truly presented the idea of principles vs. a slippery slope and it wasn't cheap or dull.

    finally we see what the consequences of just choosing expediency are, not merely because we should "believe" it's wrong (the unfortunately milquetoat conclusion of many lesser ST episodes across all series), but because you can see it qualitatively produces different results.

    everything janeway was doing as she was "becoming" ransom could be seen to deteriorate everything: strategy, morale, consistency, ethics itself--and this way the moral quandary, unlike most episodes, is actually way more polarising and tense. it's not just a vague "let's turn the other cheek and not hurt our enemies" plot, but actually mixed and compelling arguments for either approach (though i still am firmly w chakotay), in that you can see that the situation tactically can appear to call for a set of steps that, though logical, are very harmful in the long run.

    these are how real-life situations, and real-life violence is. it is very layered and complex. it often deteriorates into bloated, festering situations that go way beyond their original scope and launch a sort of dragnet drawing all kinds of people into its maw that have varying levels of agency and responsibility, as well as being coerced into it. and rather than that all of that being a reason to just abjure responsibility and try to pretend that everyone is right, or that everyone's wrong in some kind of simplistic relativism (because ultimately, action needs to be taken)...we get an episode that tells the hardest story of all: that in the DEPTHS of these moments, in the very hardest of them, is when we must STILL center ourselves, even more than usual, b/c your moral center can get away with you in a blink of an eye, and it will not be dramatic: it will be gradual, until it's sudden. if you catch my drift.

    in real-life genocides, massacres, mass sterilisation programs, ethnic cleansing projects, violent statecraft, you name it--this is the dilemma. there is such a complex set of decisions and procedures to arrive at the result--millions of dead beings--that it is impossible for any one person to execute. it requires the consent of and infiltration of massive social structures, which also implies culpability for more than just the "leader". the whole scenario itself becomes a toxic lake baptisiing its swimmers with an unholy burden--enough ethical dilemmas to last a life time, and if one does not take a stand, look for an alternate route, and potentially even face death (a scary thought indeed), one inevitably ends up part of it. the platitudes about german society being partner to the shoah would come right about here.

    and on that note, as i have no doubt said before in a million places and on this very site, i will always come back to hannah arendt's "the banality of evil", and say that this is precisely the scary thing: that the question of evil is not one of supervillains, but of its being actually quite banal--something that can appear so simple, and often executed by seemingly "normal" people, that it escapes us if we always think about the Big Bad and not the true evil that permeates the systems that surround us, affecting everyone and leaving no-one untouched.

    this is why i don't think janeway was 'out of character', as some people mentioned. if you look carefully, you can see that beneath the cool exterior there is an inner seriousness and sort of uncompromising passion that drives her to do her "job"--even in a situation where there is (potentially) no federation to do a job for. like most people in high places, she is a mix of intelligent (in a calculating sense) and ruthlessly ambitious, not merely a "nice person" who knows how to run a
    bureaucracy, but somebody who had to work incessantly and no doubt beat out other people for her position--such are top-down military hierarchies. and most high-ranking jobs require a certain kind of total sacrifice of the person to the job itself, an insane thing to ask of a person but also why it is so easy to lose yourself and be corrupted in such roles. even if we imagine a rich CEO vacationing and enjoying all their life at a level of luxury almost no one experiences--as in, "how could this be sacrifice?"--you are still losing a piece of your soul, since it is this very luxury that provides the direct incentive to blithely make horrifying, oppressive decisions on the daily (remember that worldwide colonialism almost always began as a business venture, the most famous case being the east india trading company).

    the fact the we haven't seen more of this side of her is actually the weirder part. seeing her inner passion, obsession with the federation ideal & image--the only thing she has LEFT in this land far away from her home--totally makes sense to me, and again, when people break, they are not usually "the joker". they break and they act increasingly off until you don't recognise them anymore--and her stubbornness only made me enjoy this more. because frustrating as it was, rather than capitulate to chakotay, she truly had tunnel vision until it was over. and if you've ever gotten yourself into a rut and lost yourself, well...that tunnel vision is real. and it's f'ed up. i do wish she had repented a little more at the end. but at least they sort of tease it out.

    now i can only hope--though i doubt--that this sets up the 'maquis dynamic' we always wanted for voyager, with the theme of these new crew members integrating into the crew and janeway's dance with the devil, the other side of the line that marks the prime directive. my god, that would be amazing; halfway through pt. 2 i even imagined a battlestar reboot-style season where they chase the equinox onto that planet and crash land there, leading to a whole season where they have to figure out how to survive on this planet as they repair voyager and interact begrudgingly with the survivors of the other crew, also showing how janeway's heedlessness lead to real consequences--a la bg on caprica...and yes, i clearly am a noob for having seen BG and not voyager first :P.

    now THAT would've been brave. but we know that that's not what voyager's about...at least, unless it's about to surprise me...

    thanks to kethinov for giving us over-thinkers an outlet for our grey matter.
  • From McCoy on 2017-10-09 at 12:40pm:
    I see a problem with The Doctor. Two things: Why he didn't completed his surgery on Seven's brain? He had enough time to turn her into vegetable.
    And second, far more important - just when exactly his ethical subroutines were activated again? On Eqinox he was evil, then after beaming on Voyager boom, and he's good again? Why?
    I was thinking all the time, he's just faking his psychopatic behavior, because he evolved so much, he doesn't need ethical subroutines to act ethically (I was even thinking he uploaded Seven's image into Ransoms "vids" to influence him). Just like human brain can sometimes take over functions of his damaged part - Doctors program could do the same. But well, it's not the case. A bit of wasted opportunity.

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