162 – Workforce: Part 1

Grade: B

Workforce (2001) on IMDb


We see a beautiful planet with lots of industry. There are a lot of people going to work in some kind of factory. Suddenly, we see Captain Janeway as one of the employees on this planet. What’s going on here?

After the commercial, we find out that Chakotay, Neelix and Kim are on an away mission and that they find their way back to Voyager. Now they have to help the ECH to repair the ship and find the crew.


This episode is an intriguing twist on a familiar story. Almost all of Voyager’s crew are on this alien planet, and they’ve all forgotten their real identities. They seem to be happy working at this factory, where they all have meaningless jobs. And yet, they’re all thrilled to have work and to be living on this planet. Janeway herself knows that she’s from Earth, but she has no desire to return there. Apparently, her memories of Earth have been replaced by descriptions of wars, disease, poverty, etc.

It’s pretty common in Star Trek to have stories in which the characters have forgotten who they really are. Remember the time Captain Kirk thought he was the God Kerrok? He lived his life as a Native American and even had a wife. He seemed very happy there. Captain Picard had an experience in The Inner Light in which he eventually believed his life on the Enterprise was all a dream of his.

So while the concept is not entirely original, for some reason it works pretty well here. I was wondering how the crew would get back to the ship and how the remaining Voyager crew would rescue everyone back to the ship. We don’t really find out why this has happened to them until we see Part 2, but at least in this episode, we have an interesting story that plays out well. It’s fun to watch and it’s not the same old stuff we’ve seen a zillion times before in this franchise.

Of Note

It’s funny that in this episode, Harry Kim is outranked by a Hologram. The writers must really hate Kim as a character. They do terrible things to him. Actually, they wanted to replace him with Seven of Nine, but when Garret Wang was featured as one of the 50 most attractive people, the producers decided to keep him and get rid of Kes instead. I’m wondering if the reason Harry Kim was treated so poorly in this series is because the producers were not happy that they were more or less forced to keep him when they really didn’t want him.