57 – Coda

Grade: C+

Coda (1997) on IMDb


Janeway and Chakotay are on a shuttlecraft, when they suddenly experience some trouble. The shuttle crashes, and while Chakotay survives, it appears Captain Janeway is badly injured, and is most likely dead. Chakotay succeeds in reviving Janeway, and suddenly she can walk around again. They find out the Vidiians attacked the shuttle. But then all of a sudden, the episode starts over again, and it appears we are in a time loop.


OK, right from the start, it doesn’t seem like this is going to be one of the great ones. Janeway and Chakotay find out extremely quickly that they are caught in some kind of repeating time loop, but not everything happens the same way each time.

After what seems like a dozen time loops, Janeway is finally killed off and her father comes to escort her into the afterlife. She’s not convinced that she’s dead, so she goes through all the typical questions and requests her father to give the secret answers. Being at least partially satisfied with his responses, she reluctantly attends her own memorial service. This scene is actually done very well, and it’s very nice to see all the tributes from the ship’s crew and the people who served with her. I do have one problem with this scene, however. Even when I saw this episode originally, I could not believe that Janeway was actually dead. So why bother with all the details of the memorial service, since we all know she’s not going to die?

But this is where the episode wants to go – is this really her father or not? Well, I don’t think I’ll spoil anything too important by saying that this really wasn’t her father, and that the afterlife is nothing but some alien’s “matrix.”

When Star Trek deals with the afterlife or with religion, it usually does a very poor job. The TNG episode Tapestry is an exception. But one difference between is that in Tapestry, there’s no wasted time. Coda starts off with those needless and pointless time loops that serve no purpose except to fill up time. They could have shown Janeway’s death without adding several needless scenes.

In one bizarre version of the events, Janeway catches the Vidiian phage. The Doctor puts her in some kind of coma or something so he can try to find a cure. Then he wakes her up from her coma and tells her that he hasn’t found a cure and that the only thing he can do is euthanize her before she gets worse. So without even her consent, he fills the room with posion gas. It’s really strange to see the Doctor act this way, but what’s even more strange is how the episode ends. If you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading here.

It gets strange when Janeway finds out that all of this is some kind of alien-induced hallucination. So all of this is in her mind. She keeps thinking she’s dying and this alien is trying hard to think she’s already dead. The whole thing is pretty strange.

I’m not a big fan of this episode, really. The story is OK, but it doesn’t seem to have been thought out all the way through. The frequent time loops seem to have been added when they realized they needed about 12 more minutes of material. What really bothers me is that in the long run, nothing in this episode actually happened at all. It was really like a “all a dream” show.

Of Note

One thing I did like is the reference to the Alternate Universe. Janeway says she could put an apple on her head and allow Chakotay to shoot it. He then says if he misses, he’ll get to be Captain. Nice.

Apparently, this story came out of three different ideas. Sure seems like it to me. I don’t think this worked very well.