The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: The Omega Directive

Voyager has detected the presence of the Omega particle, a molecule so dangerous that even its very existence is highly classified. As per Starfleet regulations, Janeway has no choice but to hunt down and destroy the Omega particles, no matter what the cost.

The Omega Directive is an episode that rubs me up the wrong way for two reasons. The first is that it’s just downright ridiculous. It feels like the kind of plot that someone made up after watching too many superhero movies. Not only is the basic premise silly to begin with, but it feels rushed and arbitrary at every turn, adding insult to injury. Don’t worry, we’ll be delving into the gory details shortly.

The other thing I dislike about this episode is akin to my reaction to Force of Nature – it feels like it’s all about putting limits on our dreams. Yes, as a purveyor of morality plays, Star Trek does feel like the right place to ask questions about the limits we should put on scientific discovery. Science can be misused, and it can go too far. But at the same time, Star Trek is about escapism, about enjoying a vision of the future where humans explore a galaxy full of weird and wonderful things. It always feels like a bit of a slap in the face to be told that the real top priority of Starfleet is to suppress knowledge and destroy magic molecules. Star Trek was the show that taught me to love science, and this episode makes a mockery of that in more ways than one.

Omega, shmomega

  • If the aliens see the Omega molecule as the only way to save their dying race, surely they’ll just try to make them again once Voyager leaves? Not only must they surely have backups of all their research findings, but Janeway never once tried to explain why Omega is so dangerous.
  • Given that the particles could all be neutralised safely, it’s pretty irresponsible to eject the last 28% and then blow them up. Yes, Voyager was short on time and they selected a ‘safe’ region of space to ruin, but now they’ve caused unnecessary subspace ruptures.
  • It’s just as well that Janeway able to conveniently arrange for the aliens in sickbay to be returned to their homeworld at the end.
  • There is really far too little empirical data to have any idea how much damage a given number of Omega molecules will do to subspace.
  • When the Omega molecules are beamed to Voyager, why not just flush the pattern buffer and not both to rematerialise them, thus neutralising them all instantly? If this would have enough energy to cause the buffers to overload, then how were they successfully transported at all?

Other points

  • Janeway mentions Dr Carol Marcus and the Genesis Device that she developed, as per the events of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. KHAAAAN!
  • As per Alter Ego, Tuvok has been teaching Harry how to play kal-toh.
  • The Omega Directive takes priority over even the Prime Directive, making it more of a Zeroth Directive.

Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 11

Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 7

Number of times the entire crew gets enslaved or kicked off the ship: 3

Number of times Voyager gets destroyed: 2

Summary – The Omega Directive: Far too ridiculous.

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