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By AntonyF
Posted at May 31, 2001 - 11:14 PM GMT

'Endgame' - Copyright Paramount Pictures

Episode: #271
Written By: Rick Berman & Kenneth Biller & Brannon Braga (Story)
Kenneth Biller & Robert Doherty. (Teleplay)
Directed By: Allan Kroeker

Well, where do you start with a review for a final episode? Buffy, actually. Last week I explained how my mood was good when viewing 'Renaissance Man,' due to Roswell being picked up by UPN. This week, after months of anticipation, and desperate attempts to avoid spoilers, someone decided to tell me what happened in the Buffy finale. My mood was wrecked, and I thought I'd tear Voyager to pieces regardless. The Intendant making a guest appearance probably wouldn't have done a lot to ease my bad mood. Luckily, I was able to view this episode openly and without a bad mood affecting me. I've had to ponder about what I thought of 'Endgame' for a while, but in short, it was enjoyable, very enjoyable. But it's the final episode, and what does that mean to me?

Well it meant very little to me; I wasn't particularly worried it was ending, as many of you know. To me I lost the love quite a while ago. But still, I did have a love for this show once, so it's still a conclusion to that time. So I did have a strong interest in what would happen, and it was only heightened as the episode went on. I avoided spoilers, so I really didn't know where this episode was heading when I watched it. Sadly, the episode itself initially didn't know where it was heading.

The teaser was wonderful. Loved the fireworks, and the elderly Janeway was interesting and immediately provided a pull for the story. Not much more to say there. The first scenes then show us this future universe. Janeway's completely gray, and doesn't she look cool? Very distinguished I thought. They aged Tom well, and it was amusing to see some of the others aged. I think they did a better job than they have done in the aging process at other times, credit where credit is due. The Doc's got a new Seven-like girlfriend, and we even see Tom and B'Elanna's daughter who I thought was well casted, very believable. It's a lovely touch where Janeway kisses the now mad Tuvok on the head, nice touches like this being very much absent in the series. I know she's not gonna kiss him on the bridge, but you know what I mean.

Now, Chakotay and Seven. I'm confused. When did this happen, has this attraction from Chakotay been hinted at before? Third date? I felt like I'd missed an episode or two. Of course, that whole development was a desperate struggle to provide any sort of basis for the fact that Chakotay pines to death without Seven later in life, he must go from being Janeway's lapdog to Seven's. The scenes were mixed in with some scenes that jump around wildly. From a false baby warning to a game of Kalto. Then Tuvok being ill, to a game of Kadiscat with Neelix. It just felt very mixed up and ill paced, especially considering we were then jumping to the future just a few scenes later. Oh yeah, who else didn't pick up on Neelix being there? I kicked myself. It wasn't until someone said "Where's Neelix then?" when watching it that I realized he's not even on board! Good to see you again, Neelix.

We then have the future Janeway delightfully pissing off the Klingons by stealing some technology from them.. But after viewing the events, the Klingon storyline played no part in the episode, well not that I could see. It was superfluous, and just served to confuse the already jumbled story.

Of course Janeway is venturing back into the past, where the Borg Queen also lies in wait keeping an eye on things. Ahh, the Borg Queen. Sorry Susanna Thompson, but Alice Krige just embodies this role. Within just a few seconds of seeing her, you can she has the role to perfection. From the silky, creepiness of her voice, to her fluid movements, she is wonderful.

In present time, elder Janeway doesn't hesitate in giving information and technology to the crew. I get a buzz from Janeway speaking to Janeway, as 'Deadlock' is still my #1 Voyager episode of all time. At this point, I thought it was too good to be true. Of course, as it turns out, the elder Janeway didn't have any ulterior motives apart from getting her crew home, even if it was coming back in time to do it. But why now? And why at all? Well answering the first question last, why, they're telling us that it's losing Seven and then Chakotay that does it. Hmm. Doesn't quite wash with me. Obviously tragic, but does that weigh on her so heavily that 10 years later she wants to go back and alter time? It would have been just a bit more compelling if the episode didn't show us such a rosy future. Although, if they made it too tragic, it would have probably just ended up being like 'Timeless' which it was rather like anyway. But by not making it too tragic, it lacks substance. Plus, did nothing positive happen in those 16 years to warrant leaving the time line intact? Of course, saving crewmembers is an honorable intention, but then we have to question the timing. What about all the crewmembers to date? Why didn't elder Janeway go back to the time of "Caretaker", or even earlier? If she thinks the work in 16 years was worth throwing away, surely the work they did in the first seven could also be thrown away?

But really, the whole issue of her coming back to change the past is not only unoriginal, but I do have big issues with it. Firstly, to undo 16 years of work goes against what Voyager is, Voyager should be affecting change. Secondly, what does the episode say? Every time there's a problem, just pop back in time to fix it? It's weak, and it undermines stories.

I suppose it's slightly fitting that Janeway saves her crew, even if it's an elder Janeway. But, did the crew get home through hardship, dedication and with a real sense of danger? A danger that was prevalent, say, in 'Basics.' Or did they have someone with some magic toys allow them to get through the Borg with no danger whatsoever and ride home. Did they have to do much at all?

They even threw away whatever arc they had been building. We learnt of the Pathfinder project, got to know Reg again and Admiral Paris. Incidentally, Admiral Paris just ain't that bad guy we heard about and first saw in 'Persistence of Vision' with a different actor is it? I always find Richard Herd's Paris to be a nice guy. But anyway, with all that build up, Pathfinder didn't even play a part in the ship's return. They stuck Reg and Paris in there, but it was token usage.

The whole inclusion of the Borg was forced and a bit unnecessary, but not to the extent of the Klingons. The final showdown between the elder Janeway and Borg queen felt odd too. We were led to believe they were big enemies, but it's between the elder Janeway and a different Borg Queen. So the scenes never felt like they had any weight with me. But as actresses, Krige and Mulgrew played well off each other. I'd be curious as to what Kate Mulgrew thought of Krige, as I know she liked working with Thompson.

After about the fourth or so death of a Borg Queen, the ship does get home. Tricking us to believe they turned around, they don't explain quite how Voyager got into the Borg sphere before it entered the Alpha Quadrant. I suppose the sphere could have dragged them in, but I like to know such things! The moment the sphere explodes and Voyager flies from it is wonderful-what an entrance! The ship is home.

Amongst all the mayhem, Tom and B'Elanna's baby is born, life goes after the show is the message. "Set a course… for home," is fittingly Janeway's last line, as the ship is escorted to Earth. My regret of this scene is that they went to credits far too quickly. I can understand that it wasn't the long, distant pullback like the end of Deep Space Nine. In that case, it accentuated the loneliness factor. With Voyager, it was surrounded by ships and Earth was there too. It was about being part of the family again. But it may sound trivial, but I waited the whole episode (and longer) to see that end shot, those final few seconds. And they were rather un-magnificent. The shot should have been more dramatic; we should have kept with it longer, rather than rushing to put up the executive producers' names over the pivotal scene. I actually liked the scene in the teaser, and would have loved to see that as the end.

I then started to feel the twinge of sadness, in fact I feel quite sad. But for so many reasons. There are the regrets of what could have been, but I also think the writers just still don't get it. Season seven has been an improvement in quite a few ways, most notably the Paris/B'Elanna relationship. Heck, they even got married and had a baby this season. But it was right, it was real. But still, the characters have been in a vacuum, on the whole. The Doc's love for Seven was thrown away like it was a laugh. The relationship between Seven and Chakotay could only be shown in the final episode, because it's the only time they seemed brave enough to do it. Seven was like a different character at times, but only that was done in the final episode.

I want to see the next Voyager. We're finally given what are changes to the status quo, such as a new baby and a new relationship, and then we're not being given anymore. The whole ending, of bringing Voyager home, makes me want to see more. What happens now? And that is where I don't think the writers have got it. It's like some big joke, and we're all the butt of that joke. We're finally given something to work with, some change to it all, and they're not going to give us anymore. We're told they're home, but are being given no more. It is with ironic sadness that for the first time in years that I really want more Voyager, and I can't get any. It is an utter shame we couldn't have broad character changes throughout the show. I just feel this ending was more for the writers, and not for the viewers. I can see logic in just getting them home, but the fans want to know what happens next.

Should they have got home? Well, that's open to debate. My ideal ending would have been them still trying to get home, the journey continuing. There also needed to be some tie in with the pilot, such as Sispiria, the female caretaker. But that didn't happen, and I suppose I am glad they got home. Wow, I'm glad… do I care? They're pulling on the remaining shreds of interest I have in these characters. Just again, too late. I even have an urge to watch some season one Voyager right now, probably because 'Endgame' just tugged on the crew's desire to get home. I associate that with the first seasons, which were great in exploring but not losing that desire to get home.

So, how do I sum this up? Well like so many episodes before, I feel inclined to draw upon Voyager's track history, but I will try not to. Voyager will forever be, for me, the show that could have been. It still had some wonderful, wonderful stories over the years. It wasn't all bad-no way. There are some episodes I will always cherish. But really, such regrets are pointless at the end. I have given the episode an 8.5 rating more on an entertainment scale. If I had to factor in the whole of Voyager and what I really thought of the outcome, I don't know how I'd rate it!

I must say that Voyager, fittingly, ended how it had run for many years. Not about real danger or hard decisions, but in finding the easiest and quickest way out of a problem. Solving problems with technology, trickery, plot holes or Janeway's brute force. We got all this in abundance with the finale, with a future "Magic Fairy" Janeway with lots of technology gadgets to get the crew home. It's like getting someone to finish a painting for you, would you allow that? The crew have been out in the Delta Quadrant for seven years, and have had their return handed to them on a platter. That, to me, is a violation of epic proportions, and really quite tragic.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

AntonyF is a freelance writer and interviewer, who will be known to some for running Star Trek Central until recently. He recently set up a new website, B5LR.com, dedicated to Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers.

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