163 – Workforce: Part 2

Grade: B

Workforce, Part II (2001) on IMDb


Part 2 of this story starts off with Chakotay de-activating the forcefield and fighting off two security guards. Voyager is under attack, but the Doctor as ECH saves the ship. Unfortunately, they have to leave Chakotay on the planet while Neelix helps B’Elanna to remember who she really is.


Part 1 was a mystery. Part 2, is an action/thriller episode. The mystery of how Voyager’s crew ended up here is revealed, and we get to see how Kim, Chakotay, Neelix and the ECH put all the pieces back together. It’s fun to watch, but I can’t rate it as high as Part 1. That’s common for this series. Even the very best 2-part episodes have a bit of a downer in the second half. I’m not sure exactly why that is.

One thing that I don’t like about this episode in particular is that Janeway seems to really be in love with this character she met on this planet. She tells him at the end that she could give him a job on this ship, but that she couldn’t have a relationship with a subordinate. But what that really tells me is that the writers didn’t want to really deal with the consequences of this decision. This is Voyager, and on this series, almost nothing has any lasting consequences. The only thing that happens is that the Reset Button gets pushed at the end of every episode, and presto! – the entire series reverts back to how things were at the beginning of the story.

I wish they had kept the guy on the ship somehow. It should have been possible to do that. Why couldn’t this new guy just be a civilian employee on the ship? After all, Neelix is still on this ship, and he’s not a commissioned officer. Icheb isn’t an officer, and of course neither is Seven. All of them are still on board and doing different things on the ship. I would rate this episode higher, if Janeway’s new love interest could have stayed on the ship. To me, that seems much more realistic.

So what really happened here was that both Janeway and this man decided never to see each other again. To me, that says they really didn’t love each other after all, and the story loses a lot of what it was trying to say in the first place. I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure that if I were in love with a woman who suddenly had to go away forever, I’d find a way to stay together. This guy probably really didn’t love Janeway all that much or else he would have stayed on the ship. So really this is shortchanging the story, in my opinion. We don’t believe the rest of the episode because we know that there will be no consequences at the end. And it also prevents future stories from being taken so seriously because we expect them to amount to nothing.

Final verdict is good setup, good characterization, fun mystery, but ultimately a downer when it ends. I really wish Voyager’s writers had found a way to make things unexpected and interesting.

Of Note

I thought the parts of the episode when B’Elanna is learning who she is reminded me of the time Lt Uhura had her brain emptied by Nomad. She even had to start learning how to read again.