Story: Year of Hell, Part II
Written By: Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Series: Star Trek: Voyager
Year: 1997

Much like the first installment, this episode is a decent action adventure, but all the events get the energy sucked out of them when you realize that none of it happened, has any effect on our characters, and all takes place in a sort of alternate reality. It has a big old fat reset button, which is anti-climactic when this is the end of a two-parter that was hinted at all the way back in “Before and After”.
I have an idea what could have fixed my issues with the Year of Hell though. Initially the plan was to make the first episode the finale to Season 3, thus beginning Season 4 with this episode. But that idea was quickly scrapped and replaced with Scorpion, which was a good move on all counts. Then the idea was to make this like a 4 episode arc in the middle of Season 4. That also might of worked, but I see a better plan. Once they changed plans for Scorpion and added Seven to the mix (and in my alternate reality you dropped Neelix and kept Kes) then after a full season of integrating Seven into Voyager’s make “Year of Hell” the finale. So Season 4 then ends with this big cliffhanger, and you bring Season 5 in with the “Year” already in progress. Make it last a few episodes, then wrap it up. Instead of just a big reset button that makes it all magically go away, you make like “Before and After” and you show the crew struggle to recover from the big bad year. From what I understand a theme of season 5 was Janeway struggling with her command decisions anyhow, so why not make that theme based not only on her dealings with the Caretaker or the Borg, but also with the effects of “the Year of Hell”?

Sometimes I just watch episodes and can see alternatives that make more sense to me. A lot of people seem to really like these episodes, and often cite them as reasons they love Voyager, for me the easy clean up ending was just a little too easy, and negated the worth of everything that happened in the episode since absolutely NO ONE had memories of it in the end.

NEXT TIME: B’Elanna Imprisoned for Violent Thoughts