So, I've decided to do a full rewatch of all the "Prime" universe Trek TV shows and movies. I've decided to start with Star Trek: Voyager. Below, is my review and thoughts on the pilot episode, "Caretaker". Enjoy!
STAR TREK: VOYAGER - "CARETAKER"
Okay... we start off the rewatch with the pilot episode of VOY. My general overall impression of this episode is that it's probably the most solid of any of the Trek pilot episodes. The director makes it a point to include various little details throughout, which I feel really help improve the realism of certain scenes, which I'll elaborate on as I continue. During the rewatch, I took two full pages of notes on various aspects of the episode.
First off, Chakotay's Maquis ship. I love that they reused the original film era LCARS on the ship. IMO, it really helped convey that these Maquis ships are really older used surplus ships that were repurposed by the Maquis, and aren't top-of-the-line Federation craft.
Second, the scene with Lt. Stadi and Tom Paris in the shuttlecraft en route to Voyager, which is docked at DS9... I noticed a pretty strange and puzzling VFX goof. In the scene, they somehow use two different Type-6 shuttles, both with NCC numbers on their hulls which do not match Voyager's. The first time we see the shuttle, it has a 71325 NCC number, and the second time we see the shuttle, it has a 1701-D NCC number! The Enterprise is nowhere to be seen in this episode, and I'm fairly certain it's not reused stock footage, as I don't recall seeing a 1701-D shuttle flying around DS9 on any TNG or DS9 episodes. See pics attached for proof, which I used Photoshop to clarify a bit. So, assuming the 1701-D was intended to be an actual Voyager-assigned shuttlecraft, then that means that as of this episode, Voyager has one standard TNG Type-6 shuttlecraft on board.
When we first see Sickbay, we see two confirmed medical officers - the male Human doctor, and a female Vulcan nurse. Right after Kim and Paris check in with the doctor, and they walk down the corridor to the turbolift, another Vulcan in a blue Starfleet uniform can be seen walking away, in the opposite direction. It is not known if this Vulcan is a member of the medical or sciences division. The Human doctor, as well as the Vulcan nurse, and the Vulcan in blue from the corridor are also again seen in the Mess Hall scene, where Paris orders tomato soup.
As of the ship's departure from DS9, the Voyager has a crew compliment of 141, and her deck count is established as 15 decks. I love the Mess Hall food replicator wall, and wonder why they got rid of it for Neelix's kitchen, when they easily could have had both at the same time. IMO, dismantling those replicators is a waste of resources.
The First Officer, Lt. Stadi, the Human doctor, and Vulcan Nurse, are all confirmed dead, bringing Voyager's crew compliment down to 137, as of that point in the episode. When the crew begins to recover from being thrown into the Delta Quadrant, and the Bridge is in shambles, I really enjoyed the realism of the background dialogue being spoken by the Bridge crew in the background. IMO, it really helped convey that this is a real crew, all tending to their tasks during a crisis, in a professional manner. The same with Captain Janeway helping out in Engineering - I liked how it made her seem like a really accessible commanding officer, and one who also knows her ship very, very well. A true Starfleet professional.
When the EMH is first activated, there is one Starfleet crewman in a blue uniform on the main biobed. It is unknown if he is medical or sciences division. There are also two other crew members in blue uniforms seen during the welcoming bee on the Caretaker's array - one black Human female, and one white Human male. Again, it's unknown if they are medical or sciences division. The crewman in the blue uniform on the main biobed in Sickbay is still there, when the abducted away team returns to the ship. Yet another Human in a blue uniform walks past the Transporter Room as Tuvok and Neelix leave the room, after Neelix first beams on board. Again, is this a medical or sciences crew member?
In Tuvok's absence, we learn that the acting Security/Tactical officer is Mr. Rawlins. I absolutely love this guy - he exudes professionalism in everything he does on the Bridge. He remains calm, and assists with repairs while the abducted crew are gone. We see him in upcoming episodes, and I really love his character a lot.
I love how when we first meet Neelix, his camera is hidden among a bunch of clutter on his ship. I also like how he knows of the Caretaker, and his bringing ships into the Delta Quadrant. It gives you a feeling that tales of his exploits have become things of legend in the region. It's also interesting to note that neither Neelix or the Kazon have any knowledge of transporter or replicator technology, hinting that this region of space might be the boonies or backwoods hick area of the Delta Quadrant, lol.
The Ocampa homeworld is established to be the fifth planet in its solar system. The location used for the Ocampa underground city is the Los Angeles Convention Center. I observed that when B'Elanna is trying to escape the Ocampa hospital room, there is a rip in the fabric of her white hospital robe, on the back of the right shoulder. It's somewhat disappointing that the whole issue of the Ocampan "illness" which manifests itself on Kim and B'Elanna is never further explained, nor do we ever see the two of them being cured of it on Voyager. BTW, it would seem that all the Ocampa in the city are wearing COVID-19 masks, lol.
When Tuvok goes to Neelix's guest quarters, there is yet another Starfleet crew member in a blue uniform, walking in the corridor. Once again, we don't know if this is a medical or sciences officer. On the Ocampa planet, we see three Kazon small vessels landed. One of these presumably belongs to Maje Jabin, of the Kazon-Ogla sect. Neelix's hand phaser is very small, much like the TNG "cricket" Type-1 phaser. This would appear to be a Talaxian equivalent of such a weapon. Underground, an Ocampa hands some moss-medicine to Kim and B'Elanna, but it's never stated or shown if they ever consume the medicine. I tend to guess they did not, since without a tricorder, they wouldn't know if its completely safe to do so.
The Ocampa live in a vast underground city, yet somehow, there is "sunlight", or the artificial equivalent of it seen in their "sky". Where is this light coming from, and what is supplying the power for it? The Caretaker? We learn that Kazon particle weapons are blue in beam color. Two of the small Kazon ships initially attack Voyager, and one of them is under the command of Maje Jabin. One of the big Kazon motherships shows up, to assist Jabin, but is destroyed. The two small Kazon ships survive to fight another day.
Voyager expends two tricobalt devices to destroy the Caretaker's array. We do not know yet if this is the entirety of Voyager's tricobalt device compliment or not. It is established that there is another Caretaker alien in existence, which is female. Tuvok tells Janeway he can activate the program to return them to the Alpha Quadrant, but it will require several hours to implement. We then learn that the Caretaker has activated the array's self-destruct mechanism, which is damaged when the Kazon mothership impacts with the array. I am convinced at this point, that there's nothing Janeway could have done to save the array. Even if she had not fired the two tricobalt devices, the damage resulting from the Kazon's collision would have eventually rendered the array useless, IMO.
All in all, I really enjoyed this pilot episode. I like the Kazon as enemies, despite their lower technology level. My only two wishes are that one, more of the original crew had survived longer, like the Voyager's First Officer, Lt. Stadi, and the Vulcan nurse. I would have liked to have had them keep Chakotay's ship around for at least a few more episodes, and would have liked to have seen Neelix's shuttle outside of Voyager, as we know now that it's way too big to actually fit inside Voyager's shuttlebay. Also, the issue with the actor playing Tom Paris, and the "incident" from his past - although it's at least implied that this is a different person than TNG's Nick Locarno, I suppose it could also be possible that he (and his father) changed their last name to Paris, to avoid shame from the incident. Who knows, lol. Anyway, those are my thoughts on "Caretaker". What do you think? Let's discuss below!