In the year 2370, Commander William Riker has a difficult decision to make – does he tell Captain Picard the truth about what happened on the USS Pegasus? To help him decide, he decides to run a holodeck simulation of the last ever mission of the Enterprise NX-01. Ten years after its first flight, Enterprise is returning home for the signing of the Federation Charter, but along the way, Archer stops off to help an old friend.
It’s been a long road, getting from there to here. But here we are, at the end of The Great Star Trek Rewatch (perhaps to be known in future years as The First Great Star Trek Rewatch), some two and a bit years after the whole thing began. And what a shame that we have to go out on this travesty of a series finale.
The night before we watched this, I told my viewing companion what to expect, and he thought I was joking. When Riker says his first “computer, freeze program”, his reaction was something like this. And who can blame him?
I don’t know whether These Are the Voyages was meant to be a loving tribute to the franchise’s 18 year unbroken run, fan-pandering taken to an extreme, or just a massive middle finger to the people who cancelled the show. In many ways, the motivations don’t matter. All Good Things and Endgame were great. What You Leave Behind was passable. Turnabout Intruder was by no means good, nor a proper finale, but it was about average for TOS season three. These Are the Voyages is just plain bad.
Let’s leave aside the holodeck gimmick for a minute. Even without it, this episode would be pretty weak. We jump into the lives of the characters six years after the events of season four, but no one has developed, changed or matured in that time. There’s no sense of ‘where are they now’, because everyone is right where they were in the previous episode. Even T’Pol and Trip haven’t quite got over each other and still seem to regret the end of their relationship.
Then along comes Shran, for a stupid story in which he’s been in hiding because some aliens think he stole an amethyst from them. Now they have kidnapped his daughter, and he needs Enterprise’s help to get her back. Archer agrees to help, leading to a series of events in which Trip must sacrifice his life to save everyone. There was absolutely no need to kill off poor Trip at this point, and certainly not in a situation that would have been easily dealt with in any other episode. At leas there’s a glimmer of hope in the non-canon novels, in which Trip actually faked his death in order to become an undercover operative. I much prefer that outcome.
So, what we have here is an already weak storyline, and of course it is only made worse by just being Commander Riker’s holonovel. We all know that Enterprise really struggled to thrive and stand on its own merits, but did we really need that point driven home as a parting shot? They might as well have made the entirety of Enterprise a dream that B’Elanna had in the sonic shower.
Notes, Observations and Franchise Nods
The dialogue for this episode includes the phrases “the next generation” and “all good things” (the name of the TNG finale).
- I think Riker’s admission to Troi about the cloaking device on the Pegasus was serious enough that she should have broken confidentiality and told Picard straight away. Not that Deanna should even be allowed to be Will’s counsellor, given their past relationship – and in that case, he confided in her in a friend and she is unquestionably bound to tell Picard.
- You can tell that Jonathan Frakes has been tightly corseted into his uniform in an attempt to look vaguely like he did in 1994.
- Brent Spiner literally ‘phones it in’ as a Data voiceover.
- Riker’s Enterprise NX-01 uniform is a holographic overlay over his 24th century uniform. Most of the time, we see characters getting changed into actual period clothes before starting their holoprogram. Although there’s always bee the lingering question of how Picard and Lily had time to get changed for the Dixon Hill program in First Contact.
- You’d think Trip’s unnecessary death would have been a wake-up call about the shoddiness of Starfleet security, but two hundred years later it’s still just as bad.
- Shran ended up having a child with Jhamel, last seen in The Aenar. Despite her heritage, Talla appears to have functioning vision. It is unclear as to whether she has any telepathic ability.
- Riker and Troi watch the signing of the Federation charter from the same gallery that Archer and Daniels did.
- In this episode we learn that the holodeck also has an “observer mode”, where a user can essentially be a fly-on-the-wall for events without actually playing a role in the story or being noticed by the holographic characters.
Summary – These Are the Voyages…: And so it ends.