120 – Equinox, Part 1

Grade: B+

Equinox (1999) on IMDb


A Federation ship called Equinox is attacked by some nameless CGI aliens. They send a distress signal, which Voyager detects. Voyager arrives just in time to extend their shields around the Equinox to protect it. Everything seems to be in order at first, but then Voyager’s crew starts to uncover some evidence that not all is as Captain Ransom has described.


Equinox starts off with a bang – what is this Federation ship? Why are these aliens attacking it? Was the Equinox sent to find Voyager and bring it back home? Almost as soon as it starts, there’s some mystery surrounding this ship and this Captain. We get little clues along the way. Then, just when we think we have it all figured out, it ends with a cliffhanger that leaves questions in our minds.

However, I did deduct a few points for being a little less than original, in some ways. How big is this universe anyway? Seriously, two Federation ships that were taken at the same time by the same exact Caretaker from different parts of space for the same reason? What are the chances of that? And why haven’t we heard about this other ship? Obviously the Equinox had to have been abducted first because the Caretaker died after Janeway showed up. So the Caretaker abducts the Equinox, finds out that they’re not a match, and then abducts another Federation ship right after that? Voyager’s writers don’t seem to know what an “original idea” really is.

Here are a few more thoughts about this episode:

  1. I was not impressed by John Savage’s acting in this episode. He was probably going for “understated”, but he came across as “uninterested”. Maybe he’ll be better in Part 2.
  2. The writing in this episode was actually good. The arguments between Janeway and Ransom were interesting and very insightful.
  3. I’m not surprised that Maxwell Burke (played by Titus Welliver) turned out to be a shady character. It seems Welliver is usually the villain. Of course, it didn’t help that he’s trying to put the moves on B’Elanna Torres, even though she’s already in a relationship with Tom Paris.
  4. One of the Equinox officers wants to transfer her assignment to Voyager. Though I wasn’t surprised by this turn of events, this was the first clue that not everything was right on the Equinox. I’m sure if she had spilled the beans to Chakotay right then, her transfer request would have been accepted.
  5. I liked the conversation between Ransom and Janeway when they discuss the Prime Directive. He asks her how many times she’s broken it. I found her answer to be very misleading, if not an out-and-out lie. What saves this scene is Ransom’s response to Janeway’s answer. It was obvious to me that he believed her, but he didn’t want to disappoint her in admitting he has pretty much ignored it.
  6. How could the Equinox have met so many different alien species than Voyager? And how could they have avoided all contact with the Borg? If they were also brought here by the Caretaker, and if they were only 3 LY apart when Voyager finally found them, how could they have had such a different experience in the Delta Quadrant, and how could they have gone for so long undetected?
  7. Now we’ve reached the point of no return. Captain Ransom doesn’t think Janeway will understand what they’re doing and she isn’t as concerned about getting her people home as quickly as he is. So they’re planning to sabotage Voyager and to take back whatever it is that converts the alien bodies into warp power.
  8. I don’t believe Captain Ransom. I don’t believe that this alien somehow died and they couldn’t send him back to his people. I also don’t believe that they just so happened to discover that their bodies could be used to enhance the warp drive. I actually believe they found this out early in their interactions with these aliens, and that they deliberately killed one to test out their theory. But we’ll never know the truth for sure.
  9. The cliffhanger is pretty good. I like the way this thing ends. Hopefully Part 2 will be every bit as good as Part 1. Sometimes the second half of the two-part episodes turns out to be a real dud.

As far as Voyager goes, this is one of the very best. It’s a great way to end the season, and in my book, this surpasses Scorpion as the best Voyager season finale.

Of Note

Apparently, Kate Mulgrew was considering leaving the show at the end of Season 5. So the episode was written in such a way that she could have made an exit. In all honesty, I would have preferred a Captain Chakotay for the last two seasons. Sorry, I have never been a fan of Captain Janeway.

Maybe this is as good a time as any to bring this up, but I think the entire series could have been a lot better if their roles had somehow been switched. What if Chakotay had been Captain and Janeway had been the leader of the Maquis? Would she have accepted a role as the 1st Officer on a Federation ship? How would that have changed the series?