121 – Equinox, Part 2

Grade: A-

Equinox, Part II (1999) on IMDb


The last time we saw Voyager, the ship was under attack by some strange aliens from another dimension (or whatever). One of them attacks Janeway before Chakotay can shoot it off. While the battle continues, the Equinox warps away and leaves Voyager there to fend for itself. Seven and the real Doctor are also on board the Equinox while the Equinox doctor is on Voyager.


As soon as this episode ended, I thought “wow, that was great.” I haven’t had such a positive reaction to this series in a long time.

I have to say the best part of this episode is watching Janeway spiral totally out of control. She wants to capture and punish Captain Ransom more than anything else in the galaxy. She will stop at nothing and is willing to sacrifice everything – including the safety and lives of her crew – just to get back at the Starfleet Captain who has put getting back home higher on his priority list than anything else.

Essentially what we have here is a captain who is abandoning all the principles of the Federation just so he can get his ship back to Earth as soon as possible, being chased around by a captain who is abandoning all logic and reason just so she can bring him to justice. In this episode, both of these captains are emotionally unstable and irrational.

Honestly, I think Kate Mulgrew gives the best performance she has ever given in this entire series right here in this episode. It’s a demanding role, actually. We have to see her gradually going insane. I don’t know how much of herself she put into this role, but by the end of the episode, she’s a different person. She’s always been stubborn, but it seems even worse here. The last time it got this bad was in Scorpion Part 2, when she had to reprimand Chakotay for not following her orders even while she was incapacitated. At the end of that episode, there was no remorse whatsoever – only the pathetic statement that she is all alone because she can’t rely on her First Officer to support her decisions. This time, however, it’s obvious she realizes she was wrong, and she reacts differently.

She’s not going to apologize. I don’t believe Janeway will ever do that. But at least this time, she makes it obvious to her First Officer that she knows she was wrong, and that’s enough of a change. The acting and writing are excellent here.

Robert Beltran also gives an excellent performance – we’ve seen some pretty good work from him before this as well. His role is every bit as demanding as Mulgrew’s. As a first officer, he has to point out when he feels that her judgment is impaired, and he does it very well this time. There’s one scene when Janeway is about to let the aliens kill one officer of the Equinox, and Chakotay won’t stand for it. She basically forces him to comply with her decision. But when Chakotay has seen enough, he goes back into the cargo room, saves the officer from the alien, then asks him for information that he is more willing to provide. This entire time, Janeway just glares at Chakotay. I half-expected her to breathe fire onto him like a dragon.

That leads to a scene when Chakotay is briefing Voyager’s senior staff. He gives them instructions about what they are going to do and what they hope to accomplish. Again, Janeway says nothing, but just keeps glaring at him. You know she’s angry enough to do just about anything. After the briefing, she and Chakotay go back to arguing on their plan of action, and when Janeway refuses to see reason, she relieves Chakotay of duty and confines him to his quarters. Nice, Janeway. It must have taken Chakotay a lot of strength of character not to lead a mutiny right then and there. It would certainly have been justified. Chakotay proves he’s the only one thinking straight.

I don’t want to reveal too much, but the writing in this episode is just excellent. It’s perhaps the best I’ve ever seen from Voyager. The arguments between Chakotay and Janeway are very well thought-out and compelling. At times I saw Janeway’s point, but most often, I agreed with Chakotay. He would have been a great Captain.

One thing didn’t sit too well with me, however. I didn’t like Captain Ransom’s sudden change of heart, simply because he saw Seven of Nine while he was using the synaptic stimulator. He ultimately turned out to be a rather shallow character. His First Officer was even more shallow. Maybe it’s because the focus was on Janeway and Chakotay.

Another complaint that I have is that these 5 officers from Equinox who are now part of the Voyager crew are never going to be heard from again. That’s a shame. I wish Voyager’s writers didn’t do this to us. I would have preferred more story arcs so that things would have been more realistic on this series.

One last point – the Doctor’s program was altered to remove his ethics subroutines. I wonder – how could someone modify his program and only remove the ethics subroutines? Are they located in a folder called “ethics” or do they have to look at the Doctor’s software and remove the lines of code that control that? And why should it be even possible for someone to remove his ethics? Shouldn’t they be required for him to be able to work at all? OK, sorry, perhaps that’s too nit-picky.

Overall, this is a great episode. One of the very best this series produced. Be sure to watch both parts.

Of Note

It’s interesting that the Doctor says, “it’s quite disconcerting to know that all someone has to do is flick a switch to turn me into Mr. Hyde.” This is not only in reference to the events of this episode, but also to “The Darkling” in which the Doctor actually did turn into a Mr. Hyde character who was jealous of Kes’ new love interest.

In another scene, one of the Equinox’s officers says that the terrain on this planet looks just like McKinley Park, which is where a lot of Star Trek episodes have been filmed over the years. The funny thing was that I thought this terrain looked like other episodes I’ve seen before.