With Deep Space Nine, we see the epic conclusions to The Dominion War and the centuries long struggle between the Bajoran Prophets and the Pah Wraiths in the masterfully rendered What You Leave Behind. We see our heroes triumph, and the villains fall. We see noble sacrifices, we witness evil turn upon evil, and nothing is left the same when all is said and done. The episode is filled with drama, action, and passion, all to leave you wanting more while knowing this is it. You will only make the mistake once of watching What You Leave Behind without a box of Kleenex within reach. The level of emotion as the characters say farewell to each other is as heart rending as the final episode of M*A*S*H and the final three episodes of Babylon 5. I doubt there are many television shows with such a strong conclusion.
At this point, Star Trek is proving it cannot fail to please when wrapping up a series. And then Voyager comes along.
I have a near perfect image of Rick Berman and Brannon Braga in my mind, talking to each other as the conclusion of Voyager's seventh season approaches. What to do? How to end the series to ensure Voyager's final episode will be remembered for years to come? Naturally, they discuss what made All Good Things . . . and What You Leave Behind such excellent viewing. From there it is a logical conclusion to plagiarize from themselves. Steal a bit from The Next Generation and grab some from Deep Space Nine, throw in a bit of original thinking, and Voyager's final episode, Endgame, is born.
Like with All Good Things . . ., Endgame deals in time travel. The episode starts thirty-two years after Voyager returned to Federation space, having been gone only twenty-three years rather than seventy-five. Janeway is an admiral because apparently the new Starfleet (post Captain Kirk) looks for officers with the ability to fail with upward momentum--the best way to explain why Picard was never promoted to admiral.
As expected, Older Janeway meets up with Old Janeway, who is still aimlessly cruising the Delta Quadrant. They argue for no other reason than to increase the drama. Seriously, of the two, Older Janeway has the better notions. However, she wins the arguments by repeatedly stating, "I know because I was once you." I can except that argument once. After the second time, well I stopped paying attention to their spats since the resolution is predetermined.
Old and Older Janeway form their plan, and this is where Berman and Braga decided a touch of Deep Space Nine was necessary. No one who has watched What You Leave Behind can forget the bittersweet conclusion, and that is what they wanted with Voyager. How to accomplish this? By forcing Older Janeway to sacrifice her life. The problem with her death is in the timing. Older Janeway takes one for the team while the bridge of Voyager fills with cheers, smiles, and back slapping as the ship returns to Earth. There is one exception. Old Janeway! Yes, Old Janeway is mourning Older Janeway's death, and thereby the only person on the bridge who is moping around (not to mention isn't this a bit self indulgent? To mourn herself?) The music and closeups on Janeway's face tells us we are supposed to be sad, but that is made difficult if you never liked Janeway to begin with. Not to mention the joyful crew celebrating the achievement of their goal pretty much neutralizes the pity party.
I cheer every time I finish watching Endgame for one reason, and one reason only. It means I don't have to watch Star Trek: Voyager again for a damn long time.
Yes, Voyager aired before Lost, but that is not an argument for demanding forgiveness in not keeping up with the more sophisticated tastes and trends of the viewing audience, particularly when this new sophistication was helped along by the producers of Star Trek through the seven year run of Deep Space Nine. As was previously mentioned in this blog series, the producers returned to the format of 1980s television in that the most entertaining segment of any given episode was the opening credits. That is what you have in Voyager. Jerry Goldsmith, who wrote numerous Star Trek scores, beginning with Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture, wrote a beautiful piece of music. The shots of Voyager flying through space, navigating around asteroids and planetary bodies is breathtaking. But that is all Voyager can hope to be. A lovely score, and gorgeous special effects. In all else it fails miserably.
Reason 2 (Part 1)
Reason 2 (Part 2)
Reason 4 (Part 1)
Reason 4 (Part 2)
Kirk Ridden Like a Horse
Shadows Beyond the Flames for the Kindle
Shadows Beyond the Flames for the Nook
J. M. Tresaugue Books
Independent Author Network