Caretaker (Star Trek: Voyager)
|Star Trek: Voyager episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
Episode 1 & 2
|Directed by||Winrich Kolbe|
|Teleplay by||Michael Piller
|Story by||Rick Berman
|Featured music||Jay Chattaway|
|Production code||101 & 102|
|Original air date||January 16, 1995|
"Caretaker" is the first and second episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager. This series pilot premiered as one double-length episode on January 16, 1995, as the first telecast of the fledgling UPN network. It was later split into two parts for syndication. Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet and Maquis crew of the starship USS Voyager after they were stranded in the Delta Quadrant far from the rest of the Federation.
In early 2371, the Federation starship USS Voyager is launched from Deep Space Nine and ordered to the Badlands to find a missing Maquis ship. Upon entering the Badlands, Voyager is scanned by a "coherent tetryon beam" before being struck by a displacement wave of some type of "polarized magnetic variation," wreaking havoc on the ship.
When the crew recovers they find themselves in the Delta Quadrant, over 70,000 light years from Federation space. A number of the crew are dead, including the second-in-command, helm officer, and chief engineer; the medical staff are also dead, forcing the crew to rely on the Emergency Medical Hologram for aid. However, before they get their bearings, they are brought aboard a nearby array by a being called the Caretaker. Aboard the array, the crew see through a holographic simulation and discover the Maquis crew, unconscious and undergoing strange medical experiments. Before they can react, the Voyager crew are also subjected to the same experiments. Later, both crews recover consciousness and find they are each missing one crew member; Harry Kim from Voyager, and the Maquis B'Elanna Torres. Further attempts to negotiate with the Caretaker are fruitless as he insists there's no time for such talk. Captain Janeway offers to work with the Maquis leader Chakotay to unite their crews to find their missing persons and return to the Alpha Quadrant.
The two ships follow pulses of energy sent from the array to a nearby arid planet. En route, they encounter Neelix, a space trader who is eager to help them out in exchange for helping to rescue his companion, the Ocampa Kes, from the violent Kazon which inhabit the planet's surface. Kes explains that her people live in a subterranean complex and are cared for by the Caretaker who supplies them with energy, with the only expectation in turn that they care for the beings that he sends to them, each one infected with a strange disease that appears incurable. As the crews determine how to rescue Kim and Torres, the Caretaker moves the array closer to the planet and begins firing more bursts of energy. Tuvok deduces that the Caretaker is dying, and is making sure the Ocampa are kept safe by destroying the only means of access into the underground complex. With time running short, a combined Away Team is able to penetrate the shields protecting the complex and rescue Kim and Torres.
The crews again attempt to engage the Caretaker to help return them to the Alpha Quadrant. The Caretaker reveals that he was part of an alien race whose technology had long ago accidentally caused the rainfall cycle on the Ocampa planet to become disrupted and leaving it arid, due to the destruction of that particular M-class planet's atmospheric nucleogenics. To make up for the error, he and another of his race stayed behind to care for the Ocampa. His companion having long moved on, the Caretaker has used the Array to seek species from distant galactic sectors with the potential to help him reproduce and maintain the array; the strange disease that Kim and Torres had was a result of that test. The Caretaker explains that with his impending death, he has started the self-destruct sequence on the array to prevent the technology from falling into the hands of the Kazon. As the Caretaker dies, the ships are attacked by a Kazon fleet. Janeway and Chakotay coordinate the counterattack with both Voyager and the Maquis ship to protect the array; Chakotay sacrifices his vessel to destroy one of the Kazon ships, but the remaining ships strike the array and disable the self-destruct sequence. Janeway opts to respect the Caretaker's wishes and orders the destruction of the array, despite it being their only chance at returning home. With the array destroyed, the Kazon fleet disengages from battle, after the leader declares "she made an enemy".
As Voyager starts on a 75-year journey back to the Alpha Quadrant, Janeway integrates the Maquis crew into the Starfleet crew, with Chakotay as her First Officer and second-in-command and B'Elanna Torres as the chief engineer. Janeway also allows Tom Paris to serve as the crew's helmsman on this ship, and accepts Neelix and Kes' offer to remain on board as a guide to the local area of space.
Geneviève Bujold was the first actress chosen to play Captain Nicole Janeway, and several scenes were filmed with her over the first two days of filming. Bujold quit and was replaced with Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway. Several of Bujold’s scenes can be seen on the Season One DVD extras.
Tim Russ's character Tuvok is a Lt. Commander in the pilot but in the first episode he is a lieutenant. Tuvok was then promoted to lieutenant commander in the fourth season episode Revulsion. This is only one of a few rank errors during the first season, however, Tuvok's is the most significant.
- Paramount Star trek Voyager "Caretaker"
- Paramount Star Trek: Voyager "Caretaker" (pilot episode)
- Star Trek: Voyager Season 1 DVD Collection, Disc 5
- "Star Trek: Voyager Costume Errors"
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