[VOY] Caretaker

VOY Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2 (Netflix S1 E1): Caretaker

Rating: 4

Voyager has a lot of great premises, and the establishment of these ideas is the main reason the premiere gets a 4. The concept of getting lost in the delta quadrant provides a lot of opportunity to both build an entirely new set of alien civilizations and add some serious ongoing stakes for the crew to overcome. The premise of a Maquis crew and Federation crew being forced to combine would conceivably be a way to examine federation ideals and build interesting relationships between characters. Even the more immediate premises for the Caretaker and the Ocampa are cool. This all earns this episode a 4, but it’s a depressing 4 because Voyager doesn’t follow through the ideas in the rest of the series.

You can read more about this episode at Memory Alpha

Trek.fm gives this episode an 8/10

StarTrek.com contributor Jordan Hoffman gave it 3/5


Open with some action!

It’s funny that they’re trying to make us think Paris is cool

It would have been nice if Paris was actually cool…

…Instead of people just talking about how he’s the best pilot ever.

File under: Tom Paris: Best Pilot Ever

Yeesh the back and forth between Paris and the Batazoid is terrible…”Do you always fly at women at warp speed, Mr. Paris?” “Only when they’re in visual range.”

It’s a nice approach to the ship while it’s docked at Deep Space Nine

Oh yeah, Janeway is engaged

I wish I got to know some of the people that died more, and I wish I got to know some of the crew that survived less.

Undercover Tuvok is pretty great.

This scene between Janeway and Tuvok conveys some real emotion and establishes a repoire between the two characters that feels genuine.

B’elanna is insane

The Kazon and Ocampa and their less developed world is a good idea.

Neelix and Kes in love is gross, and so is Kes’ hair.

Tuvok figures it all out, of course.

Paris and Chakotay’s witty banter while Paris saves his life is really really terrible.                                                                                            Paris: “You’d rather die than let me be the one to rescue you?” Chakotay: “Fine, be a fool. If I have to die, at least I’ll get the pleasure of watching you go with me.”                                                                 Paris: “Isn’t there some Indian trick where you can turn yourself into a bird and fly us out of here?”

Why can only the caretaker’s children care for the Ocampa? Why is it easier to pull strangers from across the galaxy instead of getting in contact with his own species? I have a feeling they made this caretaker weird and vague because they didn’t have real explanations at the time. It’s not a big deal, I was just curious about the caretakers.

There’s some Prime Directive stuff at the end.

File under: Prime Directive

Like Janeway herself so far, her speech at the end is bland and generic. I always look for how the captain is introduced in a premiere, and I didn’t think hers was very strong compared to say, Sisko.


Further Analysis:

Trek.fm’s Charlynn Schmiedt has a very good review of this episode. There are a few issues I’d like to address.

She closed her review with this paragraph:

As far as pilots go, I think this is an excellent introduction overall. I like the way the characters are introduced and I like the story until we reach the point where Janeway decides to destroy the array. I would have rather seen a situation where Voyager’s chances for getting home are ripped away by the Kazon, or something to that effect, rather than Janeway destroying the array because she must follow Starfleet regulations in a place where no one gives a damn about them. The emotional fallout from a situation like that would have been better for the story IMO, with the same ending.

That’s an interesting thought. It really might have had a strong impact if someone like the Kazon destroyed their only way home. That would make being lost in the delta quadrant truly tragic, and would make their struggle to get home much more sympathetic. But I do like the situation Janeway is forced into for this episode, and making her decision the cause of being stuck in the delta quadrant raises issues that ultimately I find more interesting than what sympathy is gained from the Kazon being the cause. By making Janeway’s decision the cause, it could’ve theoretically created some interesting tension with (probably Maquis) crew members that become angry about it. This may not count for a lot since this conflict really wasn’t taken advantage of, but at this point I liked the writer’s choice. It being a matter of Janeway’s loyalty to Starfleet regulations also creates an interesting beginning to a potential story arc about the role of Starfleet rules on Voyager. For example, as Voyager faces the threats of the delta quadrant, perhaps Janeway’s view of these rules would bend a little. They have a clear distinction between her view of Starfleet rules in the beginning and her views of it by the end when she is more desperate (like the old Janeway that appears in Endgame).  Again, you may not count this for a whole lot because they could’ve been a lot more deliberate about this character arc throughout the series. Basically I thought the writer’s choice was a good one, and very interesting, but I wish it would’ve had a better follow up.

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  • http://twitter.com/johntodd55 John Christensen

    that farm girl who tries to bribe kim and paris with a duck pond and deviled eggs must be an idiot. thats not a very good bribe.

    Whats up with the shot where they make janeway 4 inches taller than tuvok. weird choice, seeing that tuvok is taller than janeway.

    This episodes premise of meeting a planet with an unseen caretaker, and an underground society happened already in a TOS episode right? or am i crazy.

    I like the shot where the cast is on an escalator. makes me think they are at a mall.

    • http://twitter.com/LetsWatchST Lets Watch Star Trek

      Yeah that girl could create anything she wanted to in this imaginary world to bribe them and the best she could do was deviled eggs?

      As far as this being used in TOS, I’m pretty sure Star Trek doesn’t recycle stories or premises 🙂

  • cawshis

    So I’m re-watching Voyager again after a couple of years. It was my favorite by far of the NG series (a controversial viewpoint, I know!) and upon a second viewing, I do think that this pilot has some weaknesses. They introduce a whole lot, but it turns out I hate all the characters except Janeway this time around – and I only like Janeway cause I know she’s a bad-ass captain from future episodes.

    Turns out I hate Neelix more though. GODS. He’s the worst. He’s supposed to be an adventurer, but he comes off like a 65 year old creeper once Kes enters the picture.

    Good effects though and standard ST stuff, so it satisfies that ST itch, but gods, I hate the characters coming out of this episode.