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Well, here I am once again, at the end of yet another Star Trek journey. This seventh and final season of Star Trek: Voyager was always going to be about family and tying up any lose threads that have surfaced over the years, and it doesn’t disappoint. In fact, I found this final season to be the most emotional and heartfelt of the lot. But while it isn’t the finest of all seven seasons, this final act sends the show out with just enough bangs, and just enough heart that Voyager is sure to be remembered for many years to come.

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Series


Once again, we open with the conclusion to a fine two-part episode. ‘Unimatrix Zero, Part II’ is predictably jam-packed with action and spectacular set design, but it also happens to centre very strongly on Seven of Nine. In a way, this episode is sort of the first of many this season that will delve deeply into a specific Voyager character, and each will reveal some touching things you may not have seen coming.

‘Drive’ is quite a thrilling episode which also manages to answer a few questions about where Tom Paris and Torres’ relationship is heading, whereas ‘Critical Care’ spares the doctor ample limelight to see how he handles certain aspects of his humanity during a crisis.

What has to be one of the funniest episodes this season comes in the form of ‘Body and Soul’ in which the doctor inhabits Seven of Nine’s body. Of course, this enables the energetic hologram to experience things about life which he has never been able to before now. All of this results in some truly hilarious and often wincing sequences which are sure to go down in Trek comedy lore.

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‘Flesh and Blood’ is an epic two-part episode featuring lots of angry holograms and some even angrier Hirogen hunters. Interestingly, this episode concludes a story told in one of the earlier seasons, in which Janeway agreed to hand over holographic technology to the Hirogen. Here, all the holograms have apparently gone beyond their programming and are causing some pandemonium. ‘Flesh and Blood’ isn’t the best feature-length episode Voyager has ever created, but it’s still a fairly good one all the same.

One of the best episodes in season seven is the unforgettable ‘Shattered’, which sees the return of Voyager’s past, including Cardassian spy, and thorn in Chakotay’s side Seska. Much like a Quentin Tarantino film, most of this story is told in a fractured way, with different eras of Voyager’s past popping up in different parts of the ship.

Another sci-fi classic has to be ‘The Void’. It’s a creepy and often jumpy episode that has Voyager trapped in a darkened expanse of inescapable space with desperate and dangerous aliens. ‘Workforce’ is yet another feature-length episode, and it’s a mighty fine one too. In this episode, crew members find themselves trapped on an alien world living out their lives without even realizing they do not belong there. Their memories have somehow been altered to make them think that they are indeed inhabitants of this planet. It’s up to the remaining crew therefore to free them from this imprisonment and return them back to their own state of mind.

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‘Q2’ sees the return of the notorious Q, this time accompanied by his even more troublesome teenage son. Q decides to enlist Janeway as his son’s mentor – a decision of great annoyance to Janeway, who finds the younger Q almost impossible to control once his father leaves. This episode is another hilarious episode, and one that also manages to successfully capture the pangs of teenage life, despite its obvious and intentional grandiosity. You can also expect plenty more laughs in ‘Author, Author’ when the Doctor’s new holo-novel doesn’t fare too well with the crew.

During the course of the seventh season, there are plenty of touching, and often tearful episodes, all of which deliver great stories for each and every Voyager character. One of my favourites is ‘Homestead’. Though I won’t reveal everything that happens at the end, Voyager does in fact lose a valued crewmember, and it came as a great shock to me. Though I of course watched Voyager during its time on the air, I must have missed this episode.

And now we come to the finale, the truly spectacular and utterly bittersweet ‘Endgame’. Some hate this episode, while others, such as myself, love it. Okay, I admit, it wasn’t the kind of end I had imagined for the show. I had expected a grand lead up to this, perhaps in the same vein as Deep Space Nine’s finale. But all the same, ‘Endgame’ sends Voyager out on a high. With a combined mixture of slick writing, jaw-dropping special effects, and some truly emotional scenes, Voyager does indeed go out with a bang.

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Video


Not much has changed in terms of the video presentation of Voyager in the last couple of seasons. The images are still sharp and clear, with good if not great colour reproduction and strong blacks across the board. Though the noise is still there in part, it is nowhere near as bad as in earlier seasons. On the whole, Voyager’s seventh season looks as good as ever.

Audio


Once again, paramount have provided a thoroughly strong Dolby Digital 5.1 score for this DVD. Low frequencies are handled well, and likewise, dialogue and directional audio are both clear and sharp. Season seven has plenty of action sequences, and each of these demonstrates all too well how the score handles the bass – you won’t be disappointed. Season seven sounds great, and although the audio quality hasn’t really taken a step-up since season four, you’ll still be appreciative of what’s on offer.

Extras


Pink. That is the colour of the seventh and final season of Star Trek: Voyager’s packaging. But it’s honestly not as cringe-worthy as you might expect. I am not really a fan of the colour myself, but I have to admit that it looks pretty striking on the DVD shelf. Anyway, on to the features. First up we have ‘Braving the Unknown: Season 7’, which again has segments of some notable episodes along with the usual cast and crew interviews.

‘Voyager Time Capsule: The Doctor’ has some good background information on this comical character, while ‘Coming Home: The Final Episode’ goes in pretty deep on Voyager’s finale. ‘Real Science with Andre Bormanis’ explores the more technical side of Star Trek, while ‘The Making of Borg Invasion 4-D’ and the hidden material round out the extra features.

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Overall


Star Trek: Voyager – the last great Star Trek show – goes out with a reckoning, strangely emotional bang. Every dangling thread was expertly tied up with this season, but more than just ensuring smooth continuity, it brought a true and definitive finality to the show – something I consider to be important for a final season. Without having a sense of completion, to me the show would feel like an incomplete jigsaw puzzle. Thankfully, Voyager had its farewell party right at the end, and the whole thing felt just right. Though I would have preferred a slightly more drawn out finale (perhaps several episodes), ‘Endgame’ is a sufficient enough final bow.

So, where do I place Voyager in the world of Star Trek? That’s a pretty tough one for me to answer to be honest. Deep Space Nine gets top honours obviously, followed by The Next Generation. So I’d have to say it ranks third, tying with The Original Series. Enterprise would come in last, a long, long way from either of the aforementioned.

I am fully aware that Voyager has its detractors, and I admit that the show doesn’t pull you in and hold your attention quite the same as The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine did, but if you give it a chance, watch it from end to end, you might just see it for what I honestly think it is: a solid, well produced and thoroughly entertaining science fiction television show.


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