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Star Trek: Voyager – Future’s End, Part II (Review)

In a very real way, the Rick Berman era of Star Trek ends with Future’s End, Part I and Future’s End, Part II.

Future’s End, Part I and Future’s End, Part II marks the point at which Star Trek: Voyager stops moving forward. It is the point at which the show decides that it has accomplished just about everything that it could ever want to accomplish, and that it has crystalised into its final form. There are some changes still to come, with the introduction of Jeri Ryan in Scorpion, Part II and the departure of Jeri Taylor following Hope and Fear, but (by and large) the show has pretty much figured out the kinds of stories that it wants to tell and the ways in which it wants to tell those stories.

More like a hole-o deck character...

More like a hole-o deck character…

Future’s End, Part I and Future’s End, Part II feels like an appropriate place at which to draw that line in the sand. It is the two-parter that really introduces the concept of big blockbuster storytelling to Voyager, and which restructures the series as a mechanism through which generic Star Trek stories might be told. The template for the remaining three-and-a-half seasons can be found in this episode, from the “everything is back to normal” ending through to the idea of giving Janeway a a singular action-movie antagonist against which she might define herself.

The two-parter seems to freeze Voyager in amber, and set its storytelling sensibilities in stone. There will be no more experimentation, no more evolution. This is how things are to be from this point onwards. Appropriately enough, Future’s End, Part I and Future’s End, Part II mark the future’s end.

Tom and Tuvok's Bogus Journey...

Tom and Tuvok’s Bogus Journey…

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Star Trek: Voyager – Future’s End, Part I (Review)

In a very real way, the third season of Star Trek: Voyager begins with Future’s End, Part I and Future’s End, Part II.

After all, the episode airs directly after Sacred Ground. Although mixed into the broadcast order with a bunch of episodes that had been produced during the third season, Sacred Ground was the last episode of the second season production block to be broadcast. (Basics, Part II had been the last episode to be produced.) Sacred Ground was the last episode of Voyager to be tied to producer Michael Piller, who had been working on the franchise since the start of the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. There is some sense of symmetry there.

Tuvok and roll.

Tuvok and roll.

Sacred Ground feels like an appropriate place to draw a line under the first two seasons of Voyager, to suggest that the earlier incarnation of the show is finished and that a new era is beginning. After all, Sacred Ground was really the last gasp of the New Age mysticism that Michael Piller had tried to infuse into Voyager through episodes like The Cloud or Tattoo. (Piller would return to that New Age fascination with Star Trek: Insurrection.) Sacred Ground even featured something of a rebirth of Captain Kathryn Janeway.

However, if Sacred Ground represents the end of the second season, what about the start of the third season? What makes Future’s End, Part I and Future’s End, Part II such an effective new beginning?

Feels like going home.

Feels like going home.

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