Decoding the Message

Story: Hope and Fear
Written By: Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Series: Star Trek: Voyager
Year: 1998

Voyager meets a man who seems to good to be true, as he soon helps Voyager decode the message they received from Starfleet they received a while back, and isn’t it just what they would’ve wanted? A ship fast enough to take them home. But it all seems so good to be true and Janeway suspects something may be a amiss. But she and the others start to get their hopes up just in time to discover that all of Janeway’s fears are true. The ship is a fake, the message manufactured, and the alien has not been entirely honest.
It turns out this guy’s entire home planet was assimilated by the Borg after their one last hope for deflecting the Borg, Species 8472, was defeated by the alliance of the Borg and Janeway. You gotta give the guy credit, he’s right. Janeway’s selfishness has caused more pain than her righteous attitude is ever willing to admit. Hell even in this episode she refuses Seven’s request NOT to return to the Alpha Quadrant. She is a selfish tyrant who lives by a her way or the highway lifestyle. Picard demanded his crew follow his orders, but he also listened to them and took alternatives when the time called for it. Janeway is the most stubborn character in Trek, and the annoying part is everyone acts like its her right to be stubborn and tell others how to live.

In the end Janeway tries to convince the alien to “See past his own revenge” which is ironic as her own inability to see past her own selfish need to get home is what killed this guys entire planet. Oh But Voyager saves the day and the alien ends up in Borg space alone to be assimilated. What a cruel fucking fate for this guy. I bet Braga and Menosky felt crossing Janeway was enough justification for this story development.

It is a standalone finale, which is rare, but I’m glad this story didn’t get dragged out into two episodes. I guess the closest it comes to closure for the season is that Seven clearly feels like Voyager is her home by the end of the episode. What a mediocre end to a season with such hope.

NEXT TIME: Voyager Season 4 Recap