The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Coda

When Janeway and Chakotay are involved in a shuttle crash, the captain does not survive the accident – or does she? Invisible to all around her, Janeway can only watch as the crew hold a wake and get on with their lives. And when her father shows up to guide her to the afterlife, Janeway must figure out whether she really did die in the crash.

Coda is a bit of an odd one. It starts out looking like it’s going to be a temporal anomaly show with the return of the Vidiians, but ultimately this turns out to be a bit of a red herring. A cynical viewer might even say that it acts as filler because the main plot can’t possibly stretch to an entire episode.

Once we get onto the “is Janeway a ghost now?” part, it all goes a bit The Next Phase, with Janeway being unable to communicate with or be seen by anyone on board the ship. But as this isn’t The Next Phase, it’s not that she’s actually out of phase with the ship, it’s that she’s trapped in a near death experience with an alien being who wants to feed on Janeway’s consciousness. This kind of thing is the bread and butter of Star Trek, which, as with the last few episodes, makes for solid but unremarkable viewing.

Character Notes

  • The elements of Janeway’s backstory here are consistent with the novel Mosaic – since the novel was written by executive producer Jeri Taylor, she was free to incorporate the backstory she wrote for Janeway into series canon.
  • After her father’s death, Janeway fell into a deep depression and spent most of her days in bed – until her sister helped her recover. It certainly hasn’t hurt her Starfleet career.
  • Essentially, as everyone’s sad and devastated reactions to losing Janeway are just part of her hallucination, they simply represent Janeway’s ego.
  • Even if it is only a hallucination, this episode satisfies my inner desire for Janeway and Chakotay to get together. Although I guess they do work better as just good friends than as a romantic couple.

Points of Note

  • Kes appears to sense Janeway after walking through her, yet in all her attempts to get Kes to sense her again, Janeway doesn’t try touching her. Of course, it was all fake anyway, so it would probably have done no good.
  • Janeway’s father died fifteen years ago, but his apparent spirit is wearing a modern commbadge.
  • I’m going to assume that Voyager was able to retrieve Janeway and Chakotay’s crashed shuttlecraft at the end of the episode.
  • The scene in which the Doctor euthanises Janeway (with Portal-style neurotoxin, no less), is brilliantly creepy.

Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 6

Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 5

Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 1

Summary – Coda: In which Janeway dies…or does she?

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