In the mid-21st century, astronaut John Kelly is in orbit of Mars when he is swallowed by a mysterious spatial phenomenon known as a graviton ellipse. Now, Voyager has encountered that same phenomenon in the Delta Quadrant, and Chakotay is keen to explore it, despite the dangers.
It’s amazing the amount of stuff from Earth’s history ends up in the Delta Quadrant. This time around it’s the orbital module from the 2032 Mars mission, a date which was comfortably in the future when the show aired, but one which is creeping ever closer. Personally, I hope that such a mission comes to pass, but maybe without the graviton ellipse. It even features a black man, a woman and a Russian – now there’s diversity!
As for the episode itself, if you can look past the tired old “yet another subspace anomaly” angle, it’s actually not too bad. At first, Seven of Nine’s role feels a bit shoe-horned in, but actually her scepticism and lack of enthusiasm for the entire mission is important – because when she gets it, it makes it that much more memorable. Paris and Chakotay fanboying over yet another lifelong dream isn’t enough to make us care at this point, but the fact that Kelly’s final logs have such an effect on Seven really helps to really drive home the emotional impact.
Points of Note
- Chakotay admits that he always wanted to be a palaeontologist, but that duty has always gotten in the way.
- Which reminds me, in Alice, Tom basically said that his lifelong dream was to recapture that amazing feeling he had when his father took him on his first piloting experience. What happened to his lifelong dream being to join the Federation Naval Reserve?
- The 2032 Ares IV mission must have taken place during World War III. It’s also only a few decades before Zephram Cochrane would invent warp drive.
- Kelly and his colleagues talk about Buck Bokai, one of the Sisko family’s favourite baseballers.
- Why does Tuvok do the calculations for the graviton ellipse’s remaining time in normal space? He’s not a science officer.
- Why are the sensors not set to scan for dark matter? I assume by the 24th century it is well understood.
- If the Delta Flyer had been a common or garden shuttle, I bet they would have just beamed everyone off and abandoned it.
Lost, crashed or destroyed shuttlecraft running total: 16
Possibly salvageable shuttlecraft running total: 10
Number of times the entire crew gets enslaved or kicked off the ship: 3
Number of times a version of Voyager gets destroyed: 5
Summary – One Small Step: In which Seven of Nine learns the value of history.