(written from a Production point of view)
After her apparent death, Captain Janeway's journey to the afterlife, guided by her father, leaves her with suspicions.
Captain Kathryn Janeway and Commander Chakotay are traveling on an away mission from USS Voyager in a shuttlecraft, chatting about a recent talent show onboard the ship, when they are forced down by electrical interference from a nearby planet. Janeway is critically injured in the crash.
Chakotay gets her out of the shuttle and revives her via CPR and cordrazine. Janeway activates their homing signal and unwittingly shows the Vidiians (who Chakotay discovers have shot them down) right where to find them. They are then captured and killed by the Vidiians (Chakotay is shot, Janeway is strangled).
Suddenly, Janeway finds herself back on the shuttle, again talking about the talent show, when she and her first officer both realize they are reliving an event that already occurred. Hypothesizing that they are caught in some kind of time loop, and determined not to make the same mistake as before, they use the shuttlecraft's sensors to track Vidiian ships on a intercept course. They start having problems with the warp core in the resulting firefight, and the shuttle explodes before they can eject the core or take any other preventive measures for their new predicament. After the shuttlecraft explodes, presumably killing them, Janeway and Chakotay once again return to consciousness in the shuttle. They look at each other, confused and frightened.
They once again see Vidiian ships on an intercept course, but this time they can contact Voyager. Janeway tries to use a tachyon burst to disrupt the time loop, and suddenly the ships disappear. They are contacted by Voyager and brought back safe and sound. Oddly, as Janeway describes what happened, no one, including Chakotay, remember any mention of a time loop, so she's the only one who remembers things differently. The Doctor scans her and determines that she has been infected by Vidiian phage. He promises to continue looking into a cure and quarantines her in sickbay. Later, she wakes up and sees the sores on her skin, asking for the next step. Unfortunately, he sees the virus is very aggressive and, claiming to be acting in the most humane way possible, euthanizes her, over her protests, with nerve gas.
Once more, she and Chakotay are back on the shuttle. They see a strange bright light in front of them that is coming towards their shuttle; as they figure out a course of action it suddenly it engulfs them. Next, she finds herself in an out-of-body experience. She seems to be standing on the planet, next to Chakotay, watching as he tries, unsuccessfully, to revive her.
Crew members arrive and transport her straight to sickbay and her "spirit" follows, trying unsuccessfully to contact the crew. The Doctor and Kes at first get some signs of life but ultimately are unable to revive the Captain.
Knowing Kes possesses telepathic abilities, Janeway tries to get her attention in the corridor until Kes walks right through her. It seems to work; Kes stops and turns around and says to what her appears to be an empty corridor "Captain?" Later, Kes informs the crew about her experience, saying that she has the strongest feeling that the captain was in the corridor with her. Believing that the captain might still be alive in some alternate dimension in subspace, the crew begins to scan for her mind. Lieutenant Tuvok offers to work with Kes in order to help her increase the range of her perceptions.
Her father says he is there to transfer her to the "next world." He claims that she actually died in the shuttlecraft. He also tells her that he went through the same thing after his accident: returning home to his wife and children for a long time, until he finally realized it was futile. Apparently, when death is unexpected, one's consciousness is not prepared to let go.
Janeway is not convinced, stating that if he was a hallucination, a part of her, he would certainly know all the things he claims to know about her. However, he states that it really does not matter and that eventually she will crossover to that other state of consciousness. He informs her that even though her crewmembers and friends are looking for her now, they will give up eventually, accept what's happened and that she will eventually accept it too. But Janeway is not convinced and wants to help Kes "sense" her again.
In Tuvok's quarters, Tuvok and Kes are meditating in order to be able to sense Janeway again but Kes is not getting anything. She feels empty and alone, now doubting that she actually ever felt the captain at all, even though the "spirit" Janeway is sitting right there. Kes now concludes that it might have been her own desire that wanted to believe the captain wasn't dead. Tuvok agrees with her, stating that he also does not sense anything and that after three days, the efforts by Lt. jg B'Elanna Torres and Ensign Harry Kim have also been unsuccessful. He suggests that maybe it's time they accept her death.
The next day, during her memorial service at the mess hall, Janeway and her "father" are present as Torres and Kim give two rather touching speeches as they remember Kathryn Janeway, what she meant to them and taught them as well as the great loss the whole crew will experience now that she is gone. Harry's speech, in particular, brings tears to Janeway's eyes and Tom Paris calms Harry down when he begins to get emotional. Chakotay concludes the service by honoring the captain one last time with a moment of silence as her pod is released into space. Knowing that the captain would not want them to sit around and mope, Chakotay suggests that they should be gathering together and sharing the good times they had with her and Chakotay also tells everybody that Neelix has prepared some food for them to comfort the loss of the captain. The "ghost" tells Janeway it's over.
The ghost of Janeway's "father" continues trying to convince her that it is over and that there is nothing left there for her anymore. But Janeway is still not ready to accept it. Her "father" tries to convince her that all her attempts to deny the reality of her situation will only hurt her more for as time wears on, she will realize how potent and destructive loneliness is; seeing the people she loves move on with their lives without her in it, being forever shut out of their existence. But Janeway is still not convinced, insisting that she is just not ready, that she'd rather be there in spirit than not at all because "a captain doesn't abandon ship."
As the ghost of her "father" keeps pushing her into making the decision to finally leave this world behind, Janeway suddenly and briefly experiences looking up at Chakotay, Tuvok and The Doctor, still on the surface of the planet, as if they are still trying to revive her. She accuses her "father" of being an alien of some kind, knowing that her real father always respected her inclination to find things out for herself, rather than just taking someone else's word for it. A second and third vision makes it obvious her experiences in the "afterlife" are not reality. She realizes that the person lying on the ground on that planet is the real Janeway and that everything she has been experiencing since first crashing is a hallucination.
The alien being finally reveals its true identity. It claims that its species, at the moment of death, comes to help the dying understand what is happening in order to make the crossing-over an occasion of joy. It states that it was being truthful when it said that it was a place of wonder, for it can be whatever she wants it to be. Disguising as her father or generally as someone's loved ones makes the crossing over a much less fearful occasion.
Janeway doubts that the alien's real reasons for wanting her in its world have anything to do with everlasting joy and demands to know what it really wants from her.
The alien grabs her, telling her that she must go with it but Janeway realizes that if the alien could force her to go, it would have done so already. She finally understands that the alien needs her to voluntarily agree to go with it; something she refuses to do. The alien being becomes visibly upset, returning to it own realm but as a last warning states that there will be another time and that the alien will be waiting, for eventually she will come into its Matrix and nourish it for a long, long time.
The captain finally wakes up on the planet, revived by The Doctor and Chakotay beside her, who explains that they were caught in a magnetic storm and crashed there. The Doctor and Tuvok took a shuttlecraft down to the planet to begin treating her but as they were doing so, an alien presence was detected within her cerebral cortex. Its presence prevented all of their attempts to heal her but that it was eventually dislodged. Janeway tells them about the alien who appeared to her in the image of her father, trying to take her into its realm. She tells them that from what she saw, that certainly was not where she would like to spend eternity.
Back on Voyager, Janeway tries to recover by going back to her routine, when Chakotay walks into her ready room and gives her a rose. They discuss what she experienced down on the planet and Chakotay mentions how this alien and its matrix remind him of a spider who has to lure a fly into its web. She wonders whether each of the near-death experiences they have heard about might be the result of an alien inhabitation. Chakotay finds that hard to believe and Janeway hopes he is right. She expresses her hope that his species was native to the Delta Quadrant and that they've seen the last of them.
Janeway jokes that, after all, they cheated death, which is certainly worth a celebration with a bottle of Champagne and a moonlight sail on Lake George. Chakotay wholeheartedly agrees and off they head off to the holodeck together.
- (Part of Janeway's hallucination induced by the alien) "Tactical Officer's log, supplemental. My attempt to help Kes detect the captain's presence has ended in failure. I am forced to conclude that we have, in fact, lost Kathryn Janeway. I would like the record to show that I have lost a good friend as well, one whom I can never replace."
- "Captain's log, stardate 50518.6. The Doctor has examined me thoroughly and pronounced me physically fit, but I'll admit that it will take a little longer to work through the emotional impact of my experience."
"Maybe I could stand with an apple on my head and you could phaser it off."
"Sounds great. If I miss, I get to be captain."
- - Janeway and Chakotay, discussing the latter's possible contribution to Neelix's talent night
"Go back to Hell, coward."
- - Captain Janeway
"You can't die!"
- - Chakotay, while resuscitating Janeway
"Breathe, damn it! Breathe!"
- - Chakotay, while resuscitating Janeway
"It didn't stop them."
- - Chakotay and Janeway
"I'm the captain! Delete the EMH!"
- - Janeway, attempting to stop The Doctor from euthanizing her
"She saw something in me that I didn't see. She saw a worthwhile person where I saw a lost and hostile misfit. And because she had faith in me, I began to have faith in myself. And when she died, the first thing I thought was that I couldn't do this without her, that I needed her too badly – her strength and her compassion. But then I realized that the gift that she gave me, and gave a lot of us here, was the knowledge that we are better and stronger than we think."
- - B'Elanna Torres, during Janeway's memorial
"I know Captain Janeway wouldn't want us to be sitting around moping. She'd want us to be cheering each other up remembering the good times, like that away mission when we found all those bushes of overripe fruit. I must have eaten half a kilo. My hands and mouth were all purple, and the captain... the captain came and sat down next to me, and her mouth was all stained too. She put her arm around my shoulder and she said... she said... 'Ensign, these are the times we have to remember."
- - Harry Kim's speech, which brought tears to Janeway's eyes
Title, story, and script
- This episode had the working title "Fractals".  The word that was ultimately used as the installment's title, "coda," is the Italian term for "tail", as meaning "end", and is commonly used in musical notation.
- The development of this episode began as an amalgamation of plot ideas that Star Trek: Voyager's writing staff had been considering. Executive producer Jeri Taylor explained, "It was a combination of several threads of ideas that we had been kicking around. None of them seemed to be working on their own. Then we began cobbling them together, and all of a sudden we had this wonderful, rich mystery." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 104)
- Some story elements of this episode – including Admiral Janeway's reference to his own drowning, and to other members of the Janeway family – were taken by Jeri Taylor from Mosaic, her own novel about the life and career of Kathryn Janeway up to her time as captain of the USS Voyager. Taylor remarked, "This is the fun of being an executive producer. I get to say what her backstory was. We have been having a good time including some elements from the book into the episodes." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 104)
- Jeri Taylor also considered this installment to be an opportunity to explore the relationship between Janeway and Chakotay, without indefinitely changing the nature of the bond between them. Taylor noted about the episode, "It was an opportunity to show feelings between Janeway and Chakotay in a safe territory, because it was all inside her head." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 104)
- The final draft of this episode's script was submitted on 29 October 1996. 
- The uniform Admiral Janeway wears is similar to the unused uniform developed for Star Trek Generations, albeit without the raised collar and gold striping.
- The visual effect for the anomaly Janeway and Chakotay see from the shuttlecraft is a re-use of the anti-time anomaly encountered by the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) in TNG: "All Good Things...".
- While directing this episode, Nancy Malone – despite knowing nothing about special effects – made use of the provisions given to her in that regard. "I would call the guys on the set and I'd say, 'Come on, I have to have this guy walk through a wall, and I'm not quite sure I set it up correctly. Could you just check it out and make sure it's right?' [And they'd reply,] 'Oh, we'd love to.'" (The Green Girl documentary)
- Although Janeway actress Kate Mulgrew enjoyed this episode, she was less enthusiastic about the fact that its production was somewhat stilted. "We had to do a great deal of reshooting," she recalled. "I think it found its sea legs in the end." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 86)
- Admiral Janeway wears the combadge used from 2371 onward, although evidence from the dialogue suggests that his death occurred prior to 2358. He should therefore have been shown wearing the combadge design used throughout Star Trek: The Next Generation and during the first two seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- In spite of all the technology available in the 23rd and 24th centuries of the Star Trek universe, this is the third of only four times in canon that any character has used cardiopulmonary resuscitation as part of advanced cardiac life support. McCoy uses it in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, produced five years before this episode, while two seasons before Bashir used it in an attempt to save Gabriel Bell in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine third season episode "Past Tense, Part I", and Janeway later used it in the fourth season episode "Scientific Method".
- This episode achieved a Nielsen rating of 4.6 million homes, and a 7% share.
- Cinefantastique rated this episode 2 out of 4 stars. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, No. 6/7, p. 104)
- Star Trek Monthly scored this episode 3 out of 5 stars, defined as "Warp Speed". (Star Trek Monthly issue 28, p. 57)
- The unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 155) gives this installment a rating of 5 out of 10.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 3.8, 23 June 1997
- As part of the VOY Season 3 DVD collection
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Jennifer Lien as Kes
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Tuvok
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
Special guest star
- Carl David Burks as Russell
- Steve Carnahan as an operations division officer
- Damaris Cordelia as Foster
- Brian Donofrio as science division officer
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Heather Ferguson as a command division officer
- Sue Henley as Brooks
- Kerry Hoyt as Fitzpatrick
- Joyce Lasley as Lydia Anderson
- Susan Lewis as an operations division officer
- Louis Ortiz as Culhane
- Richard Sarstedt as William McKenzie
- Lou Slaughter as a command division officer
- Noriko Suzuki as operations division officer
- John Tampoya as Kashimuro Nozawa
- Unknown actor as Murphy
antigrav thruster; apple; ballet; Beginning Ballet; blood pressure; boatswain's whistle; cerebral cortex; cerebrovascular collapse; champagne; chroniton; clarinet; consciousness parasite; cortical stimulator; cordrazine; cranial swelling; Delta Quadrant; dementia; direct synaptic stimulation; DNA; duty station; euthanasia; evasive maneuvers; fruit; gas flow separator; ghost; gravito-magnetic force; headache; hull temperature; hydrazine; ice cap; inaprovaline; ion lightning; Janeway's mother; Janeway's sister; kilo; Klingon; Lake George; lesion; magnetic field; magnetic storm; magneton scanner; matrix; memorial service; meter; microcellular scan; midbrain; milligram; near-death experience; neural toxin; nitrogenase compound; Nozawa, Kashimuro; overripe; parts per million; path; phage; phase shift; phaser burn; pod; poetry; pulse; purple; rose; Sacajawea; security access code; shock; strain; subspace; tachyon; Talent Night; Tau Ceti Prime; temporal scan; temporal signature; temporal field; temporal flux; temporal loop; The Dying Swan; thalamus; thoron; Unnamed planet; Vidiian; Vidiian warship; Vulcan; web
- "Coda at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Coda" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Coda" at Wikipedia
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