Endgame (Star Trek: Voyager)

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"Endgame"
Star Trek: Voyager episode
Episode no. Season 7
Episode 25 & 26
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Story by
Teleplay by
Featured music Jay Chattaway
Cinematography by Marvin V. Rush
Production code 271
Original air date May 23, 2001 (2001-05-23)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: Voyager episodes

"Endgame" is the series finale of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager, episodes 25 and 26 of the seventh season and 171 and 172 in the overall series. It was originally shown May 23, 2001, on the UPN network as a double-length episode and later presented as such in DVD collections, but it is shown in syndicated broadcasts as a two-part story.

Plot[edit]

In the year 2404, the Federation is celebrating the tenth anniversary of Voyager's return to Earth from 23 years in the Delta Quadrant. An older Admiral Kathryn Janeway acquires a chrono deflector from a Klingon named Korath and uses it on her shuttle to travel back to 2378 in the Delta Quadrant. She pulls rank on her younger self, ordering Voyager to emit an anti-tachyon pulse that collapses the temporal distortion and prevents the Klingons from following her through.

Aboard her old starship, the Admiral tells her younger self to return to a nebula filled with Borg that they passed by a few days before. She provides advanced technologies that allow Voyager to bypass the massive Borg defenses and enter a transwarp corridor. Despite spying on the ship and preparing for its attack, the Borg are unable to penetrate Voyager's new adaptive hull armor or to capture it with tractor beams, while Voyager destroys two Borg cubes with transphasic torpedoes. Voyager then comes upon a Borg transwarp hub. Transit through the hub will save the ship sixteen more years of being stranded in the Delta Quadrant.

The Admiral's efforts to get the crew home are hindered by the desire of her younger self to use the technology from the future to destroy the transwarp network instead of using it to return home. Trying to blast it from the inside is impossible, as the network adapts to any attack due to the control of the Borg Queen.[note 1] The hub can only be destroyed from the Delta Quadrant terminus because the Alpha Quadrant contains only exit apertures. The two Janeways argue over the issue until the elder Janeway tells her younger self that Seven of Nine and 22 other crew members will die if they do not take the transwarp conduit home, and that Vulcan Tactical Officer Tuvok will become mentally unstable from a neurological condition that could have been treated in the Alpha Quadrant had they had made it back soon enough. Deeply troubled by the knowledge that she is effectively ordering the deaths of her crew, Captain Janeway discusses the issue with them, but they too decide that destroying the Borg's transwarp hub is more important than returning to Earth, as without it, the Borg's ability to travel across the galaxy will be severely hampered and countless lives will be saved. On seeing the crew's selfless reaction to the plan, the older Janeway rediscovers her fighting spirit and, with Captain Janeway, comes up with a plan to both destroy the hub and possibly get Voyager home.

Admiral Janeway takes her shuttlecraft and enters the transwarp hub, finally arriving at the Unicomplex — the center of all Borg activity and the home of the Borg Queen. Janeway appears in the Queen’s mind, claiming she wants Voyager towed back to the Alpha Quadrant (apparently in defiance of the younger Janeway's plans) in exchange for Voyager's armor and torpedo technologies. However, the Queen detects her shuttle and beams the Admiral to her chambers for assimilation into the Borg collective. A few minutes later, Admiral Janeway unleashes a neurolytic pathogen from her bloodstream that devastates the Borg and causes the queen's cyborg components to fall apart. With the deactivation of the Queen, the Unicomplex suffers a cascade failure and explodes, killing the partially assimilated Admiral.

Meanwhile, Captain Janeway and her crew have entered a transwarp corridor and fired torpedoes at the unprotected manifolds while traveling back to the Alpha Quadrant. They are pursued by a Borg sphere that has managed to withstand the pathogen's effects and assimilate Admiral Janeway's adaptive armor upgrades. The sphere is under orders from the Borg Queen to destroy Voyager so that the Admiral (and her sabotage) will not have occurred. Unable to fight back against the sphere's defenses, Janeway takes her ship inside the sphere, where, upon its arrival one light year away from Earth's solar system, she detonates a torpedo that destroys the sphere from the inside.

In the show's final minutes, the crew stand dumbfounded that they have finally returned home after seven years in the Delta Quadrant and are greeted by a fleet of Starfleet vessels that had arrived to fight the Borg. Settling down in her chair, Captain Janeway issues her final orders with the same words she used at the start of Voyager's journey from the Delta Quadrant: "Set a course...for home."

Secondary/alternate future stories[edit]

In the Star Trek franchise, a classic story plot-line is that characters from the future alter the past to change the future, as seen in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home or “Yesterday's Enterprise”. Within the Voyager series, an episode like “Timeless” also follows this narrative. This can create significant screen time of events that are destroyed as the past is altered. A review of some of the contents of a partially explored timeline before it is reduced to a seven-year journey by Admiral Janeway:

  • The final episode also includes the birth of Miral, daughter of helmsman Tom Paris and Chief Engineer B’Elanna Torres. It is unclear whether Miral is born in the Delta quadrant, inside the trans warp conduit, or as Voyager reenters Earth's solar system. The sounds of the baby’s gurgling are heard over the communications system, to the joy of all the crew. In the alternate future, she is an ensign on a classified mission to obtain a chrono deflector for Admiral Janeway. She threatens two Klingons who accused the Admiral of disrespect with the breaking of their arms. Janeway suggested she spend some time with her parents at the reunion on Earth.
  • Commander Chakotay and Seven of Nine are revealed to have started dating. Though Seven is at first wary of the relationship, and more so after Admiral Janeway tells her of her own death, Chakotay persuades her that he wants to be with her, even if it's uncertain how long they will be together; however, Janeway's older self suggests that Seven and Chakotay will eventually be married. In the alternative future, Seven died on the trip home and it is implied that Chakotay never recovers from the trauma of her death. In one night time scene, Janeway is standing alone in the moonlight with a Bay wind blowing leaves on a flat grave marker inside San Francisco National Cemetery. She stoops to wipe the leaves away; the marker simply reads: Chakotay 2329 - 2394.
  • Tuvok is suffering from a degenerative brain disease, yet does not tell the Captain as the only cure is a mind-meld with a family member—logically, he does not want to distract the Captain. In Admiral Janeway's future, the disease has progressed too far to be cured and he is in a mental institution.
  • The Doctor's "name" saga is finally concluded in the first few minutes of the show, where in the future he is seen confessing that he has finally decided, after thirty-three years, to call himself Joe after his new wife Lana's grandfather. The two married in 2404, two weeks before the tenth anniversary of the return of the USS Voyager. This revelation takes place in an alternate future, one in which the Voyager crew does not ultimately end up. Tom Paris expressed a lack of amusement at this, saying "it took you thirty-three years to come up with "Joe"?" Lana was played by Amy Lindsay.
  • Harry Kim is the captain of the USS Rhode Island. He goes to stop Admiral Janeway from going back in time, but he ultimately decides to help his old friend in her cause. In the present timeline, young Ensign Kim is anxious to pursue what is inside the nebula. An amused Captain Janeway tells him "you may be the captain some day, but not today." In the alternate future, Admiral Janeway reminds Captain Kim of the time when he was still an Ensign on Voyager that he wanted to enter the Borg-infested nebula because of the promise of a way home it held, and he reminds her that she stopped him. As a result, USS Voyager's return journey back to the Alpha Quadrant takes 23 years. Janeway says that she now regrets that decision, given what happened later on, and if she knew then that these things would happen she would have indeed taken the risk.
  • Naomi Wildman has a young daughter named Sabrina in the alternate timeline with whom Harry Kim has a brief chat at the reunion.

When the Star Trek films continued after Nemesis, this plot device is again used and those events take place in what has been called the Kelvin timeline. (see also reboot)

Production[edit]

It was originally expected that a character would die in order to return Voyager to Earth, with Kate Mulgrew saying in an interview that one of the characters would die in one of the final frames of the series finale - but added that it didn't mean she was saying that it would be Janeway who would perish.[1] In 2015, Brannon Braga stated on Twitter that he felt that it should have been Seven of Nine who died in the finale,[2] and that he had written the episode "Human Error" specifically to set this up.[3]

Awards[edit]

This episode won two Emmy Awards. Only four other Star Trek episodes have won this many. It won for Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Dramatic Underscore) (Jay Chattaway) and Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series, in both cases beating the Voyager episode "Workforce", which was also nominated in those categories. "Endgame" was also nominated for Outstanding Sound Editing For A Series.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Alice Krige returns to the role of the Borg Queen for the first time since Star Trek: First Contact. The character was portrayed by Susanna Thompson in four previous Voyager episodes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Trek to Break Final Taboo?". Dreamwatch (73): 18. October 2000.
  2. ^ @BrannonBraga (May 10, 2015). "True. I thought 7 of 9 should sacrifice herself to get her crew home. She was a tragic character. Bad idea?" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ @BrannonBraga (May 10, 2015). "Human Error - the last Voyager I wrote - was intended to set up her death. She learns she can never be fully human" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ "Dispatch: "Endgame" Earns Emmys for Visual Effects, Music". Star Trek.com. September 10, 2001. Archived from the original on October 6, 2001. Retrieved September 5, 2014.

External links[edit]