26 – Cold Fire

Grade: B+

Cold Fire (1995) on IMDb


Tuvok is training Kes on reading other people’s minds, and on developing her telepathy. Suddenly, Kes and the Doctor discover that the Caretaker’s remains are becoming animated, and they think they can use it to track down the other Caretaker that he spoke of. They trace the signal to a space station, and they find a colony of several thousand Ocampa who live there.


So far, this is one of the very best Voyager episodes, but unfortunately, it still has a few weaknesses.

First of all, I didn’t know Vulcans had the ability to read minds. With all the experience this series has with Vulcans, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Second, the acting in this episode could use a bit of improvement. Kes did a fairly good job in her starring role, but she really needs to learn how to scream. Third, the writing is pretty sub-par. In one scene, after Kes had a lengthy discussion with the leader of the Ocampa on the station, Janeway says “it sounds like you’ve established a dialogue with him”. Of course she has. Talking is what “dialogue” means.

As another example of weird writing, Tanis sends a message to Suspiria, the female Caretaker, and then says matter-of-factly, that they should hear from her in the next 47 hours. How does he know it will take her that long to contact them? Does it always take that long? What does an omnipotent being do for 46 hours and 50 seconds? Or is this perhaps just an example of throwing in the number 47 for the sake of having it on the show?

But I really do like this episode. In fact, it’s one of the very few Voyager episodes that I would like to watch again sometime. About 2/3 of the way through the episode, I started thinking about how much this has in common with Star Wars. I kept imagining Tuvok as Obiwan Kenobi, Kes as Anakin Skywalker, Suspiria as Palpatine, and Tanis as an unnamed Sith apprentice. The only difference is that in Star Wars, Anakin actually chose to join the Dark Side. Here, Kes rejects the offer and goes back to Voyager to learn how to use the Force in a safe way. It’s a bit of a change for Star Trek, which usually depends a lot on technobabble.

Probably the best aspect of this episode is that it develops Kes’ character a great deal. Not only do we see her learning how to use her telekinetic abilities, but we also see her having to make some pretty difficult decisions. It appears that she would have to turn her back on her friends if she wants to reach her mental potential.

One last thing – when she used her powers to destroy all the plants in her nursery, she later describes the feeling as very exciting. This is exactly what we should have seen from Star Wars Episode 3. We should have seen that Anakin enjoyed using his Dark Side powers more than the Light Side ones. Star Trek actually made that point better than Star Wars did.

But overall, this is a very good episode. I still have 5 more seasons of Voyager and all 7 seasons of Deep Space 9 to add to my site, so it’s hard to tell where this episode will end up in my list. But by the time I’m all done, I wouldn’t be surprised if this episode ends up ranked in the Top 75 – which may not sound like much, but when you’re talking about 723 total episodes, that’s almost the top 10%.

Finally, a word or two on Suspiria. At the beginning of the episode, Janeway desperately wanted to meet her because she might have the ability to send them home. But she shows up only in the last few minutes of the episode, and not for very long. Then she just leaves with a whimper, and the ending is very lame. But maybe this ending was tacked on once they realized the show would not be cancelled after its second season.

Of Note

The actor who plays the leader of the Ocampa also played Soval in Enterprise. Interestingly enough, he was also briefly considered for the role of Sisko and Janeway. He did a good job here in this episode and in Enterprise.

A rumor is out there that this episode was created just in case the show would be cancelled. It was intended that this would be the series finale. Personally, I think it was way too early to be planning for a series finale. Back in 1995-96, Voyager was UPN’s #1 series, and the only show it had that anyone watched at all. To cancel it back then would have meant UPN would have folded earlier than it did. But I do think this would have been a better series finale than Endgame was anyway.