In the twenty-fifth and final episode of Voyager, Janeway concocts a plan that is ridiculous, risky, and dangerous… because that’s exactly who she is. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Voyager.
Trigger Warning: For talk of ableism
I’ll admit upfront that this is going to be a difficult episode to talk about because of how I’ve split this in half. There’s a huge element of this story that’s “missing” only by nature of how I’ve watched this, and I know it’s affecting my perception of “Endgame.” I don’t see how this is going to be wrapped up in so little time, and I am even less convinced of the justification for what Janeway is doing. At the same time, I still feel like this is her character, and I’m giving this story the benefit of the doubt. I just need to know why this is happening.
As for the what… I am slightly embarrassed that it took me as long as it did to piece together what Janeway’s plan was. MARK, THIS SHOW DOES THIS ALL THE TIME. CLEARLY THE TWO PLOT LINES WOULD CONVERGE. To explain a bit… look, y’all, I have not done a review video in what has felt like AGES. I’ve moved across the country and I am not at all good at the adjustment to a new time zone, and the first sixty seconds of “Endgame” threw me for such a loop that I felt like I had unraveled. I expected some sort of long story that would end with Voyager getting home. I DID NOT ANTICIPATE THE SERIES FINALE OPENING WITH THESE CHARACTERS RETURNING TO EARTH. Thus, everything that happened after this left me confused and bewildered.
Some of that is for a good reason. It was nice to know that the Voyager crew succeeded and that they reduced their travel time down to twenty-three years. The glimpses we get of this future timeline â€“ which I’ll assume are temporary, given this show’s love for time travel â€“ are mostly good. The Doctor gets married and picks his name. (Thirty-three years for Joe?!?!?!) Harry is a HONEST-TO-GODS captain!!! Janeway is teaching at the Academy with Barclay! B’Elanna and Tom had a daughter and Miral is AMAZING and bravo on casting that actress WHO TOTALLY LOOKS LIKE SHE COULD BE B’ELANNA’S ACTUAL DAUGHTER. These are all the sort of things I wanted from the finale, but I also now realize that I can’t invest myself in any of them. The same goes for the “negative” storylines. Chakotay is dead in the future, and it is left unexplained; Seven of Nine is just gone, and her very name brings dread and discomfort to Janeway; Tuvok’s degenerative disease has progressed to the state that he needs full-time care.
If I’m to believe the set-up for this finale, then I must be convinced that this future timeline is so awful that Janeway is willing to risk her career, her reputation, and her life in order to re-write history. That’s a huge sell in general, and it’s an even bigger one in such a limited span of time. Does “Endgame” accomplish this? Well, it might; as I said in the beginning of this review, there’s still more story to be told. It makes it difficult to analyze this otherwise. Based on what’s been shown to me, I get the sense that I’m missing something, some sort of singular justification that’s bound to come. It can’t be Tuvok, right? He has the degenerative condition anyway, and it’s not like Janeway could guarantee a future timeline in which there’s a cure. Is she trying to save Chakotay’s life? What about Seven? How does she play into all this? Or is there some greater reason for Janeway wanting to get her crew back to Earth sooner than the twenty-three year journey she already lived?
I don’t have the slightest clue, but I know that I need more. I feel uncomfortable about the notion that this is the “darker” timeline almost entirely because of Tuvok. The “darker” reality shouldn’t be hinged on a person being disabled, since that contributes to stigma of the chronically ill. I also feel weird about Chakotay and Seven as a couple, since two things are occurring here: the show is still skirting over the fact that she used a Holodeck version of Chakotay to fall for him, and I can no longer deny that the randomness of sticking these two together is almost unbearable. Look, I really liked “Human Error,” and I also believed that Voyager wouldn’t stick the landing. I honestly thought we’d never see Seven actually date Chakotay, yet here we are. The show accelerates their relationship off-screen so that the romance â€“ and the introduction of Seven getting surgery so she can fully experience human emotions â€“ can occur within the episode. It’s a lot to ask of the audience, but then, isn’t this whole episode?
So this review is a bit on the shorter side, not because I don’t have a lot to say. It’s tempered by ignorance: I can tell there’s more to “Endgame” that I need to understand it, so I’d prefer to wait until I have everything. Yet even with my reservations for certain aspects of this script, I can’t ignore how cool it felt to see Janeway from 33 years in the future order her younger self around because she outranks her. I imagine the first few minutes of the next video will be a lot of fun. There’s also a part of me that wishes Susannah Thompson were back as the Borg queen because I’ve come to enjoy her so much in Voyager, but hey: BORG SHOWDOWN. It’s imminent, right?
The video for the first half of “Endgame” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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