33 – Dreadnought

Grade: C+

Dreadnought (1996) on IMDb


During her routine medical checkup, Ensign Wildman discusses possible names for her baby with the Doctor and Kes. Meanwhile, Voyager comes across some unknown debris from an explosion that was caused by a Cardassian weapon. Janeway thinks it might have been Seska who caused it, but Torres admits that it’s her fault. She apparently re-programmed a Cardassian doomsday weapon to work for the Maquis instead. Now it has somehow found its way to the Delta Quadrant, and it’s threatening a peaceful planet with millions of inhabitants.


I’m pretty sure I would have rated this episode higher if it didn’t come so soon after “Prototype”, which is the episode when Torres ends up destroying a robot that she created. Interestingly enough, she blames herself in both episodes for doing something that could lead to mass destruction. The storylines are similar enough that I felt I had already seen it before. But they’re not exactly the same – despite the similarities, there are some differences between them.

It seems odd, but here we have another incident between Paris and Chakotay. It turns out that Tom shows up late for a staff meeting, and he doesn’t exude a completely professional appearance. Then in perhaps the best scene of the episode, he admits to Torres he had an argument with another crewman that came to blows. These scenes seem to have no significance whatsoever to the series or the episode, but it’s little things like this and the previous episode when he was caught running a gambling ring that help establish his character (or perhaps the lack thereof). Because I remember where they’re going with these scenes, I know that this is going to be resolved during this season, and we’ll have the second legitimate story arc of the series.

The first one is of Michael Jonas – the officer who has been secretly communicating with the Kazon and providing incidental information to them. Speaking of this, I don’t understand why he is going through the trouble of communicating with the Kazon without actually telling them anything of consequence. In this episode, he tells them that Voyager found the Cardassian doomsday weapon, but I don’t see why this information would make any difference to the Kazon. Why would they care about this? It seems to me that if Jonas is going to risk treason, he may as well give the Kazon something they can truly use, like the specifications to Federation weapons or something that could really give him a lot of personal benefit. In all honesty, I don’t understand what Jonas thinks he can gain by giving information to the Kazon in the first place. Does he think he can get home to Earth sooner with the Kazon’s help? Would he rather serve on a Kazon ship? I understand his frustration with Janeway and her management style, but I don’t see any motivation for his activities. Whatever.

Getting back to the main storyline, Torres spends a lot of time trying to trick the missile and stopping it. This proves to be harder than she thought, because the missile apparently is smarter than she is. It’s a little strange, since she is the one who programmed it in the first place. I have worked in programming for several years, and I’m sure that if I ever ran across some code I wrote a couple of years ago, it couldn’t possibly be smarter than I am. Well, she makes some kind of excuse for why the missile is outsmarting her, and we get some sorry excuse for phony drama. See, if she had been able to suddenly re-program the missile, we wouldn’t have a race to the finish to see if she could prevent the destruction of an innocent planet.

With that said, I don’t believe anyone who has ever seen a Star Trek episode would be surprised at all that she stops the missile with only a minute left to spare. About the only unexpected event in this episode is when Janeway orders everyone off the ship in escape pods while she uses the ship itself to stop the missile. The first time I watched this, I was secretly hoping they would destroy the ship and do something unexpected. I seriously wonder how she could have possibly planned to get her people back home to Earth if they were all in separate (and defenseless) escape pods. So I knew there was no chance this would turn out that way. But it still didn’t deter me from hoping there would be something surprising. The more of these episodes I watch, the more I wish Voyager’s writers had the courage to take some risks with their storylines. After literally hundreds of Star Trek episodes across all the different series, we’ve all seen the same kinds of stories dozens of times. It would be nice to see something totally different. Oh yeah, that’s what Voyager was supposed to be in the first place. Oh well.

Finally, one other thing that really bothered me about this episode is that here we have yet another connection to the Alpha Quadrant. So not only do we have a virtual repeat of a previous storyline, but we also have the nearly impossible coincidence that Voyager just happens to come across a Cardassian weapon, and to add insult to injury, it’s one that Torres programmed two years ago. This is far too many coincidences for me to put up with.

But here’s the stupidest part of this episode, and it proves that this series was written by people who didn’t think much. So Torres modified this missile only two years ago in the ALPHA QUADRANT! Why aren’t they downloading the missile’s logs to see how in the world it made a 70,000 LY trip in only 2 years??!! Of course it’s important to stop it from destroying a planet of unsuspecting and innocent aliens – but why not try to find out how the missile ended up in the Delta Quadrant so quickly? With some luck, maybe it would show locations of wormholes or spatial anomalies that can help get them home faster. Ugh, these people.

Of Note

After filming this episode, Roxann Biggs-Dawson asked if the writers could give her a story in which Torres interacts with a human being. In the previous two Torres-centric storylines, she interacted with her other self, then with a robot. In this episode, she plays opposite a computerized missile, which she had programmed and given her own voice.