The Great Star Trek Voyager Rewatch: Living Witness

Seven hundred years after Voyager passed through the Delta Quadrant, the Vaskans and Kyrians remember the starship very differently. According to their history, Voyager was an aggressive warship who intervened in their war, killing hundreds of thousands of people. But when Kyrian museum creator reactivates The Doctor’s backup module, he starts to learn that the history of Voyager and its encounter with his people is very different to what he has always believed.

I love Living Witness – in fact, it’s almost certain to turn up in my Voyager top ten. Not only is it something a bit different from the average episode, but the portrayal of evil Voyager is simply excellent. I love the idea of a ruthless version of Voyager where dominatrix Janeway rules over her cruel and sadistic crew, wreaking havoc everywhere. If someone made a spin-off series about evil Voyager, I would definitely watch it. In fact, if I could think of some good storylines, I would write it myself.

Between this excellent concept and The Doctor’s always acerbic delivery, Living Witness is highly entertaining from start to finish. It even has a touch of the Star Trek morality play – once events pass out of living memory, how accurate are the accounts that remain?

Evil Voyager
• Janeway is a ruthless dominatrix who believes in the Starfleet way – namely using force to solve all problems.
• Chakotay sports a much larger facial tattoo, and, along with Tom, Harry, Tuvok and Neelix, make up Janeway’s thuggish and brutal crew.
• Seven of Nine is still a full Borg, with her own group of subservient drones assimilated from the various cultures Voyager has encountered.
• The Doctor is a sadistic torturer who is equally capable at designing biological weapons as he is inflicting pain on an individual.
• As with the last couple of episodes, B’Elanna does not appear, as Roxann Dawson had recently had her baby. In order to distract from this, she is mentioned a couple of times.

Other points
• How does the EMH backup module work? Is it in an independent duplicate of the real EMH? Presumably this episode fits in with the rest of the Voyager timeline, in which The Doctor continues to exist and function aboard the ship. But if the backup module can function independently, why didn’t Tom and Harry activate it when the real Doctor was away during Message in a Bottle?
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 – Living Witness: When diplomacy fails there’s only one alternative. Violence. Force must be applied without apology. It’s the Starfleet way.

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