During an eventful year, Janeway and crew encounter Ferengi
from the Alpha Quadrant, a Federation ship from the future,
Q and his girlfriend, and a hideously huge viral life form
that overruns the ship. Tuvok has a flashback to his time
aboard the starship Excelsior under Captain Sulu, while
the entire crew must face the prospect of entering Borg space...
did I tell you? Voyager got better each year! The list
of commendable episodes in Season 3 is very long indeed.
the previous season's cliffhanger has been satisfactorily
resolved in Basics: Part 2, it's straight into the
30th anniversary special, Flashback. Ingeniously reproducing
the set and crew of the Excelsior from Star Trek
VI: The Undiscovered Country, this episode boasts a fine
performance by George Takei as Captain Sulu, proving yet again
what an excellent captain he makes (worthy of his own series).
Profits has similar inter-series appeal, tying in ingeniously
with the Next Generation episode The Price.
The two Ferengi (Dan Shor and Leslie Jordan) who ended up
stranded in the Delta Quadrant at the end of The Price
have set themselves up as false gods. Neelix (Ethan Phillips)
impersonates an envoy of the Grand Nagus. This is not the
first time Phillips has played a Ferengi: he was Farek in
the Next Gen episode Ménage à Troi.
The first of several successful mid-season two-parters that
Voyager would produce during its run, Future's End
is an appealing time-travel story featuring guest performances
by actress/comedienne Sarah Silverman and Ed Begley Jr. This
trip to the 20th century deliberately echoes the original
series episode The City on the Edge of Forever, including
some comical dialogue that is lifted wholesale.
and Before and After are both excellent Kes (Jennifer
Lien) episodes. In Warlord she turns in a splendidly
camp performance when Kes is possessed by the villainous Tieran.
Her portrayal is reminiscent of Nana Visitor's mirror universe
Kira in Deep Space Nine. Before and After is
another fascinating time-travel tale, which predicts next
season's two-part Year of Hell.
Q and the Grey, not surprisingly, sees the return of the
ever-popular Q (John de Lancie), while Macrocosm is
a bold experiment in the use of CGI. The realisation of the
outsize viral attackers is not always entirely successful,
especially when they have to interact with live-action performers,
but many of their scenes are very unnerving indeed. This experiment
paved the way for the even more ambitious Species 8472 in
(Robert Picardo) episodes rarely disappoint, and accordingly
both The Darkling and Real Life rise to the
occasion. The Darkling sees the Doctor turn bad when
his program is corrupted. Picardo clearly enjoys himself playing
the dark side of his split personality. Real Life,
directed by Happy Days veteran Anson Williams, demonstrates
a remarkable range of tones. It begins like a '50s family
sitcom, as the Doctor creates an all-too-perfect virtual family,
but then takes on a more modern tone, before becoming something
Origin is the first of several Voyager episodes
to depict the activities of the crew from an alien point of
view, as Gegen (Henry Woronicz), a scientist from a reptilian
race descended from Hadrosaurs, postulates a connection between
his species, the Voth, and the human race. From this starting
point, the storyline also offers social commentary as Gegen's
theories, like those of Darwin and Galileo in our own history,
challenge his people's "natural law".
Worst Case Scenario sees the welcome return of the
villainous Seska (Martha Hackett) in one of the few ways possible:
as a computer simulation. Well, it was either that or time
very premise of Voyager, which concerns a ship and
crew that are constantly moving in a specific direction, means
that recurring enemies such as Seska, the Kazon and the Vidiians
must get left behind at some point (though the Kazon are no
great loss). That is what happens during this season. However,
the producers then incorporate a much more potent menace,
one that remains with the show right to the end: the Borg.
As discussed in the featurette Braving the Unknown: Season
3, the deadly Borg, with their transwarp technology, are
able to pop up at any point between the Delta Quadrant and
the Alpha Quadrant.
It becomes clear in Blood Fever that the ship has entered
Borg space. Then in Unity we see some living examples,
though this is not the most exciting Borg story ever, having
more in common with the ex-Borg in Next Gen's Descent
than the action-packed The Best of Both Worlds or Star
Trek: First Contact. However, the producers are merely
saving the best for last, which they deliver in the jaw-dropping
season finale Scorpion: Part 1.
Of the remaining episodes, none are particularly weak - not
even the Kim (Garrett Wang) episode Favorite Son, which
many fans deride, but which I actually quite like. If forced
to nominate a couple of weaklings, I would go for the touchy-feely
religious ritual story Sacred Ground and the Neelix
episode Fair Trade.
seventh disc contains over 100 minutes of special features,
including Braving the Unknown: Season 3; Voyager
Time Capsules on Neelix and Kes, in which recent interview
material with Jennifer Lien is conspicuously absent; Red
Alert: Amazing Visual Effects; and Real Science with
Andre Bormanis, which this time includes input from a
couple of other scientists. Flashback to Flashback
looks into the making of the celebratory Sulu episode, describing
the pains that were taken to re-create the set and track down
the old Excelsior cast.
A couple of the featurettes, Creating the Voyager Crew
and 30th Anniversary Moments, were not present on the
generic Region 1 release. However, 30th Anniversary Moments
is not as special as it sounds, comprising eight minutes of
celebrity sound-bites recorded outside the venue of Paramount's
gala celebration. We hear Joan Collins almost totally misquoting
the original series' motto, but we don't hear interviewer
Mark Little, who it appears is not allowed to speak on camera.
3 is a great collection of episodes. If you're a completist
then you will of course be buying every box set of this series,
but if you're a choosier fan then I recommend this as the
place to start your collection.
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