Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Voyager, Season 7: Prophecy

Voyager, Season 7

Airdate: February 7, 2001
157 of 168 produced
157 of 168 aired


Voyager comes across a Klingon warship in the Delta Quadrant. It has been wandering the galaxy for nearly a century, looking for their Messiah. The one they've found? B'Elanna and Tom's unborn daughter.


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Matthew: The criticisms here are obvious. Yes, it's kind of a rehash of TNG's "Rightful Heir." A sect of Klingons is looking for their Messiah, and one of dubious provenance provokes soul searching as well as realpolitik among the faithful. There's also the "small quadrant" problem, in which all manner of people from the alpha and beta quadrants seem to be showing up, and right along Voyager's course, no less. The question of how much these weigh on the overall rating of the episode depends on whether the character stories justify things. Ultimately, I don't think they do. The aspect of Torres and Paris coming to terms with their daughter's heritage has already been broached nicely in "Lineage," while Torres coming to terms with her own feelings about Klingon Stuff was investigated nicely in "Barge of the Dead." So overall, nothing here feels particular groundbreaking or transformative for either character.

Kevin: I remember an interview with John Ritter where he talked about how in season one of Three's Company, they had an episode where they had to hide a cat for the Ropers, and then in a much later season, they had to hide a dog from Mr. Furley. This is episode is definitely in the "hiding a different pet from a different landlord" part of the series. It's the same people with the same problem with even essentially the same solution, imbuing the thing you know not to be truly divine with all of your best aspirations is still valuable. The presence of "Lineage" two episodes ago only makes it worse, since we just had an episode about B'Elanna's baby and it was a spectacular episode. So it really felt like this was just an episode they had sitting in a stack to flesh out this season.

Matthew: There are nice scenes to be had, including Tom suiting up for mortal combat, Neelix getting his rocks off with a Klingon sexpot (poor Harry), the running Neelix/Tuvok comedy act, and so on. All of these things have their pleasures. This episode therefore feels a bit like coasting. I like these people, they are being put into new-ish situations that possess strong reminders of previous ones, and I don't mind it much at all. 

Kevin: These were less effective for me. The Neelix stuff, both with the Klingon lady and Tuvok read as overly broad for me. I will say in the plus column that Tom and B'Elanna interacted very well together. Her 'Klingon-ness' has been a complex subject for both B'Elanna personally and them as a couple, and it felt like they did a good job of acting like a team through this one.     


Matthew: Although this is an ensemble piece, which is slightly odd given the B'Elanna/Tom focus, I would say the characters that get the most interesting spotlights are Ethan Phillips and Robert Duncan McNeill. They're put into somewhat novel situations and allowed to stretch their characters a bit. Neelix in particular has progressed from annoying creep in Season One to someone I genuinely care about and am amused by. It's a real testament to the actor and the writers and bringing his character around.

Kevin: While the plot elements themselves didn't tickle me, I can't deny that the actors are all comfortable in their roles and hit everything down the center of the fairway.

Matthew: The two main Klingon actors, Sherman Brown and Wren T. Howard, were quite good in their roles. I believed their antagonism and their positions. Howard in particular has really come a long way from the guy who was transporting Lwaxana Troi in "Manhunt." Kohlar had a real presence on screen, and his voice is superb.

Kevin: Howard really does have an amazing voice and his stage presence alone is almost enough to make this a good episode alone. They are definitely in the upper echelons of Klingon actors who know how to imbue the character with just the right bombast to make them big, but not too big. I would watch Howard and JG Hertzler do one of the Richards or Henrys any day.

Production Values

Matthew: There is definitely a laudable number of extras and costumes at play here. To the degree actors and appliances were reused for padding, it was not noticeable at all. It really added to the episode. The D7 looked terrific, a real credit both to the original design as well as the CGI work. Speaking of CGI, there were some really nice ship shots and planet shots in this episode.

Kevin: I was actually surprised by how nice the D7 looked even now. It was a good use of extras and I agree, I did not clock any obvious reuses.


Matthew:  This is not a stunningly original or eventful episode. I'm torn between a 2 and a 3. But given that it is well acted and produced, I can't really muster up any annoyance at it. It's very serviceable, relatively ho-hum Trek. I think it therefore squeaks into the "mediocre" 3 range.

Kevin: The ultimate effect here was that I was bored. Howard's acting aside, I was never really invested in the Klingons or their plight and I found the comedy a tad schlocky for my tastes, and since you've given it the 3, I don't feel bad about giving it the 2, for a total of 5.

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