(written from a Production point of view)
Voyager finds another Federation starship, the USS Equinox, stranded in the Delta Quadrant. But they also find that the Equinox crew is harboring a dark secret. (Season finale)
- 1 Summary
- 2 Memorable quotes
- 3 Background information
- 4 Links and references
On the bridge of a Federation starship, all hell has broken loose; nearly everything is wrecked. The only lights are the flashing red lights of a red alert and the flash of sparks from the wreckage. Seated in the command chair, the grim-faced captain hears an ominous report from an officer: the ship's deflector shields are at 29%; whatever is attacking them is breaking through. The captain makes a decision: drop the shields completely and allow the shield emitters the 45 seconds they need to fully recharge; a potentially suicidal action, but they have no choice, as they will all certainly be killed if the emitters run out of power.
He and his officers immediately field phaser rifles and aim at the air above their heads, and he gives the order. Instantly, upon the lowering of the shields, a dry, high-pitched screeching whine is heard. Portals appear above them. The officers fire into them and they close. But others appear rapidly, and they begin to be overwhelmed. A green, flying creature emerges from one, and immediately closes in on an officer. Three streaks of light slash across him. He collapses as his body immediately desiccates into a dried husk. The officers desperately fire at every portal and creature which emerges from it.
Aboard the USS Voyager, Captain Janeway, Seven of Nine, and Commander Chakotay look at an emergency transmission on the huge viewscreen of the ship's astrometrics lab, shown to them by Seven. They see a static-filled image of the same captain from the attacked ship, and listen to him as he urgently sounds a distress call:
"This is Captain Ransom of the Federation Starship Equinox! We're under attack! We need assistance!"
Janeway recognizes the name: Rudolph Ransom, captain of the USS Equinox. Seven announces the signal was transmitted fourteen hours ago. Janeway asks what the Equinox is doing in the Delta Quadrant. Seven surmises perhaps its mission is to find Voyager. But Janeway does not believe this, and explains that Nova-class starships are short-range planetary research vessels, not designed for long-range tactical missions. She must be stranded here, like Voyager. Janeway immediately orders a course laid in toward the Equinox, 3.2 light years distant, at maximum warp, with shields up and at red alert.
As Voyager arrives at the Equinox's location, Janeway orders Ensign Paris at the helm to drop out of warp. At the operations station, Ensign Kim puts the stricken vessel up on the viewscreen. The ship is hobbling in space, its shields clearly visible. It is still under attack but the attackers are not apparent, and the attack does not appear to be weapons fire, as there are no other ships nearby. At the tactical station, Lieutenant Commander Tuvok reports the heavily-damaged state of the vessel. They enter hailing range, and Janeway orders a channel opened. She identifies herself and Voyager. Ransom interrupts with yelled instructions to extend Voyager's shields around the Equinox, and Janeway orders it done immediately. Paris moves Voyager above the Equinox and Tuvok works to extend the shields.
As this is being done, the same dry, high whine from before is heard again, as Seven of Nine (at an auxiliary console) reports the opening of portals – interspatial fissures – on several decks, including the bridge deck, Deck 1. Tuvok finishes adjusting the shields, and a single, large shield surrounds both Voyager and the Equinox, then becomes invisible, indicating the attack has ceased. This is confirmed by Seven's announcing the fissures have vanished, and the ending of the noise. Janeway hails the Equinox, but gets no answer. She orders Chakotay to assemble rescue teams to beam over.
The teams beam over. Chakotay, Lt. Paris and Voyager's chief engineer, Lt. Torres, form one team, and beam to the engine room. At Chakotay's order, Torres begins seeing about restoring power, as Paris finds the shriveled corpse of a crewmember. Scanning it with his tricorder, he finds every cell in the body is desiccated. Torres reports her bewilderment after examining the engine assembly; it appears to have been totally redesigned from original Starfleet specifications. Chakotay finds a survivor under some debris – a terrified blonde Human ensign whose name is Marla Gilmore.
Other teams find survivors in other areas of the ship. On the bridge, Captain Janeway, along with Tuvok, find still more survivors, including Captain Ransom. Janeway speaks with him briefly. They establish that both ships came to the Delta Quadrant in the same way: courtesy of the Caretaker. Though gravely injured, he refuses to leave his bridge, but Janeway insists that he go with her to Voyager; they will compare notes further there. Reluctantly, he agrees.
As Voyager and the Equinox travel together, the crews of both ships gather in Voyager's mess hall. There, Captain Ransom performs a solemn ceremony commemorating the dead of his crew. He calls names: Lieutenants William Yates, and John Bowler, Ensigns Dorothy Chang and Edward Regis, and Crewman David Amantes. The tone then changes, as Captain Ransom thanks Captain Janeway on behalf of himself and the survivors. Janeway warmly accepts them aboard, calling them the "newest members of our family." Janeway then issues duty assignments: Ensign Kim and Lt. Torres are to lead efforts to repair the Equinox. Seven and Tuvok will work with Ransom's first officer, Maxwell Burke in analyzing the attacks on the Equinox and then dismisses the assemblage, and the crews mingle.
As the crew dismisses, Gilmore walks with Chakotay to see if she can instead be assigned to Voyager. Seeing the state the Equinox is in, Chakotay thinks she's needed there, but could use someone with her engineering skills on the ship. She then starts remarking on how clean Voyager is and admits to being affected by her experiences on the Equinox. She's afraid to be on a turbolift, and calls for an emergency stop, preferring Jefferies tubes. Chakotay understands and goes with her.
In the lab, Seven makes a disturbing discovery which she along with Tuvok and Burke show to Captains Janeway & Ransom: there are intermittent spots appearing in different areas of the shields which surround both vessels. Seven explains they are stress points, caused by interspatial fissures the Equinox's attackers are opening, trying to come aboard. The attacks haven't ceased; they are merely being successfully blocked. But this success will not last long; Tuvok explains every opening of a fissure within one meter of the shields weakens them by 0.3%. Janeway immediately comes to the alarming conclusion that at this rate, the shields will fail within two days. Seven comes up with an idea: bio-scans which Burke showed both her and Tuvok indicate the aliens cannot survive for more than several seconds in this realm, and if they can show the aliens they possess the ability to hold them here, thus killing them, it may stop their attacks out of self-preservation. Burke builds on the idea: in order to study their attackers, they had built a multiphasic force field chamber in the Equinox's research lab to trap one for several minutes. Janeway decides to have a latticework of such force fields installed throughout both ships. But when she asks Ransom to allow them to examine the chamber, he and Burke evasively respond the research lab is flooded with lethal levels of thermionic radiation. Burke adds, the schematics are in their auxiliary data core. Ransom and Janeway leave for the Equinox's bridge to download them to Voyager's computer.
As work continues on Equinox's bridge, Janeway and Ransom compare notes about their and their crews' travails in the Delta Quadrant. Janeway speaks of Voyager's many run-ins with dangerous aliens, including the Federation's most feared adversary: the Borg. Ransom tells her he and his crew never encountered the Borg at all since arriving. Janeway ventures he and his crew are lucky. Ransom quickly quashes that with a recounting of what happened to them. Their first encounter, he recalls, was with a power known as the Krowtonan Guard. Upon their arrival, he, like Janeway, had ordered a course set toward Earth's coordinates, but the Krowtonan Guard warned them they had violated their territory and to leave immediately. Ransom ordered the course maintained and over the following week 39 crewmembers, half his crew, were killed in combat. After this, everything changed, he recalls. When they first arrived, he had told them they had a duty as Starfleet officers and crew-members to uphold Starfleet directives of exploration and expansion of knowledge, as well as Starfleet principles, but after the Krowtonan Guard experience, they saw their only goal as one thing: survival.
The talk segues into the Prime Directive – whether they have violated it to preserve their crews. Janeway admits having bent it on occasion, while her counterpart noncommittally admits to the same thing. They find among the wreckage the Equinox's dedication plaque, and put it back up on the bulkhead. After finishing the download, the captains return to Voyager.
Ransom finds Burke eating heartily in the mess hall, his first proper meal after two years on emergency rations. His words to Burke are ominous and conspiratorial: "Don't get too comfortable. If Janeway is any indication, these people will never understand." He warns Burke to watch what he says to Voyager crewmembers. Burke cautions that they will "find out eventually". Ransom responds they will be able to keep it from them as long as they can keep them out of the Equinox's research lab.
Healed and back on his feet, the Equinox crewman rescued by Seven and Ensign Kim, Crewman Noah Lessing, goes to see Seven in the astrometrics lab. But as they are talking, the high screech is heard again. Lessing and Seven look above their heads in alarm. On the bridge the sound is also heard. Kim tensely reports to Chakotay that interspatial fissures are opening on three decks, including Deck 1. Tuvok reports the reason: the lateral shields have gone down. Chakotay orders power routed to them. This brings them back up and the noise ceases.
Chakotay orders an explanation. Tuvok gives it: the aliens began to focus their efforts, rapidly opening fissures along a single shield vector. This wore that shield vector down so quickly that it collapsed before auxiliary emitters could respond. Chakotay realizes that the aliens have changed tactics, and the Starfleet crews have less time than they originally thought.
Janeway, Chakotay, Ransom, Burke and Ensign Gilmore meet with Seven and Tuvok in Janeway's ready room, where Seven and Tuvok report that the multiphasic force field chamber's schematics can be indeed adapted for general ship-wide use. But it will take fourteen hours to do so, and, as Gilmore nervously points out, the aliens may very well collapse a part of the deflector shields again before then. Chakotay suggests that they make a stand on one ship, thus halving the time. The logical choice is Voyager; she is more powerful and in good working order. Ransom, Burke and Gilmore, however, are not keen on the idea of abandoning their ship.
Janeway considers, and comes to the same conclusion as Chakotay. Ransom states that because they are 35,000 light-years from Earth, they should work to preserve both ships. She quotes a Starfleet regulation which basically says that when two or more ships fight alongside each other, in the absence of a flag officer, the captain of the ship that has tactical superiority is in charge of the group. In this case, that is Janeway. Ransom, aware of this, is forced to agree, and orders Burke, and by extension, the other Equinox survivors, to treat Janeway as their new commanding officer. The meeting ends.
After the meeting, however, Burke goes to engineering. Alone, he conducts an unauthorized download of the proposed ship-wide multiphasic force field into a tricorder he has carried there with him. Torres enters and finds him, but he manages to deftly hide his act and distract her from asking pertinent questions as to why he is there with banter. Then Ransom calls all the survivors to meet him on the Equinox bridge. They meet and conspire to take the force field generator once it is built and leave. They have no intention of giving up their ship. So obsessed are they about surviving and returning to Earth that they are ready to do whatever is necessary to do so, at any cost, including abandoning their rescuers, absconding with the protection from their enemies that Voyager developed and leaving Voyager's crew to face them alone. They hash out their plan and prepare to enact it.
However, while they are doing so, Janeway is having a meeting of her own with Tuvok and Seven. The two have found that, after all this time, the Equinox's science lab is still flooded with thermionic radiation. It should have dissipated by now. Further, they have found that three EPS conduits have been rerouted to the lab; they are emitting the radiation. They report this to Janeway. The conclusion is that the lab has been intentionally contaminated; Ransom does not want them to enter it. Janeway decides that a check of just what is in there is necessary; Ransom is obviously hiding something. Since the radiation level is too high for an organic to survive, she decides that they will send in, without Ransom's knowledge, the one Voyager crew-member who will not be affected: The Doctor.
The Doctor beams into the lab. Maintaining a comlink with Seven and Tuvok in the astrometrics lab, he slowly moves through the lab, examining it.
The lab contains the force field equipment which was used to intentionally trap the aliens, so that they would die. However, as The Doctor discovers, this was not for defense; it was so that their nucleogenic bodies could be used to boost the warp engines' power, due to their high nucleogenic energy content. The Doctor finds other equipment which supports this conclusion; equipment to convert the remains into a crystalline compound that the engines could use, once they were suitably modified. The Equinox crew was thus intentionally killing the aliens to boost the power output of their warp drive, in order to cross the vast distance home more quickly. Janeway is immediately informed.
On Voyager, Ransom and Burke walk along a corridor, discussing final preparations for their plan. But they run into two of Voyager's security officers, who have been instructed to detain them. They try to head for a transporter room, but instead meet an armed Tuvok, who is Voyager's security chief as well as Janeway's chief tactical officer. He is accompanied by more of his security officers. He informs Ransom of Janeway's "wish" to speak with him. Ransom goes without resistance.
Ransom sits across from Janeway in the briefing room. Sitting at the head of the table, Janeway stares at him in palpable anger. She informs him of what The Doctor has found, presents him with 10 isograms of the crystallized remains, and cuttingly asks him how many more of the aliens he would have needed to kill to return to the Alpha Quadrant. He answers it will take 63 more of the aliens to get the Equinox home. The aliens, she says, are not aggressors; they are only defending themselves from him and his crew. Ransom does not deny it, and defends his actions by quoting a Starfleet regulation that authorizes a captain to "preserve the lives of his crew by any justifiable means" in the event of imminent destruction. Janeway has none of it. What they did was wrong in every sense, morally, ethically and, according to Federation law, legally, she insists.
He defensively outlines how they started on this course of action: starving, with the Equinox all but destroyed, they managed to find an class M planet where they hoped they would find food. The planet was inhabited by a peaceful and generous race called the Ankari. They thought the nucleogenic aliens were spirits of good fortune and, after giving Ransom and his crew food and some supplies, invoked them to bless their journey, using a device to open interspatial fissures through which they emerged, flew around the crew and returned to their realm. Scans showed high antimatter content in their bodies. Seeing a possible way to "turbocharge" their engines for faster warp flight, thus letting them return home, they bartered with the Ankari for one of the devices in exchange for an energy converter. They constructed a multiphasic force field chamber in the ship's lab to hold one of the aliens, summoned one and tried to study it but it died; it could not live for more than several seconds in this realm. But its remains were found to be a source of fuel. With a bit of modification, the engines could use them; they would increase the power output and thus their speed. In just 2 weeks, they traveled 10,000 light-years. And so they began summoning the aliens intentionally to use their bodies in this manner. Ransom insists that they were left without a choice. Janeway again has none of it. She relieves him of command and orders that he and the other survivors be confined to quarters.
She then goes to the bridge and orders The Doctor to return to the lab and retrieve all the data he can find on the aliens. She also orders Seven to go to the Equinox's engine room and take the modifications off-line. Perhaps, she muses, they can make contact with them themselves and explain that Ransom and his crew will be punished for what they were doing to them, and thus convince them to stop their attacks. Chakotay has Gilmore decrypt the Equinox's engine modification schematics in the astrometrics lab, and Seven beams over to begin dismantling them.
However, in the Equinox's research lab, The Doctor is having trouble accessing the data he is after, even though he has decrypted it. The ship's computer informs him that authorization from the ship's EMH is needed for access. The Doctor activates the EMH. It is a Mark 1, exactly like The Doctor. The Doctor informs him of his crew's arrest. The Equinox EMH asks The Doctor how he is able to leave his sickbay, and The Doctor shows him his mobile emitter. He sternly informs the Equinox EMH of the criminal experiments that have been happening in the lab and is shocked to learn that the Equinox EMH designed them; the crew deleted his ethical subroutines. He suddenly strikes The Doctor's arm, deactivating the mobile emitter. The Doctor goes off-line. The Equinox EMH puts the emitter on.
As the Equinox EMH returns to Voyager, pretending to be The Doctor, on the bridge, Captain Janeway and her bridge officers note with consternation that the shields are weakening even more rapidly; the aliens have stepped up their attacks. While Seven works in the Equinox's engine room, Tuvok and Lt. Torres are in the astrometrics lab, almost ready to bring the ship-wide multiphasic shielding on line.
In the sickbay, the Equinox EMH queries the computer for Ransom's location. Once he gets it, he packs a bag of hyposprays and goes to find Ransom. He tells the guards outside Ransom's quarters that the Equinox crew has been infected with a virus and he has been authorized to inoculate them. They let him in. Once inside, he surreptitiously informs Ransom of his real identity. He is going to help them escape.
In the astrometrics lab, Tuvok and Torres attempt to activate the shield grid, but nothing happens. They try to find out what is wrong. They discover that Burke, while in engineering, had done more than steal the multiphasic field generator's schematics; he had also reconfigured intended power couplings to the device, then reconfigured the sensors so that this would not be detected. Tuvok and Torres work to undo this, as Ransom and his crew overpower their guards, take their weapons and enter the corridor. They head for a transporter room.
On the bridge, at his station, Ensign Kim reports detection of phaser fire on the deck on which the Equinox crew were confined. Janeway immediately orders security to seal off the deck. The aliens step up their efforts, rapidly wearing the deflector shields down. As the shields degrade, Kim reports an unauthorized transport. Janeway orders him to block it but he is unable to do so in time. He reports that the Equinox crew has beamed onto their bridge. Attempts to call Seven of Nine fail; Seven is lying unconscious in the Equinox's engine room, Ensign Gilmore standing over her.
On the Equinox bridge, Burke reports with chagrin that Torres has erected a force field over the multiphasic force field generator, and he cannot beam it off Voyager. He tries to override the command codes. This works, and he beams it onto the Equinox.
Janeway hails the Equinox and, seething, warns Ransom that if he does not desist in his action, both ships will be destroyed. But he will not hear it, responding that that would be better than thirty years in her brig. She threatens to fire on him.
He ends the communication. Torres calls Janeway and reports that the Equinox crew has taken the generator. Thus, Voyager is defenseless against the aliens. On the Equinox, Ransom orders their escape at warp, but in engineering, Gilmore reports Seven's attempt to dismantle the warp engines, and that she, Gilmore, is undoing it. Burke integrates the multiphasic field generator into the ship's computer.
Voyager's shields fail. The dry whine is immediately heard. Kim reports fissures opening on all decks. Janeway and the bridge officers ready their weapons.
On the Equinox, a fissure opens, but Burke succeeds in getting the generator up. Instantly, as an alien comes through, it finds itself trapped by a force field. It rushes frantically about, bouncing from field to field, then collapses and dies. Ransom orders it taken to the lab. Crewman Lessing reports engines are online. Satisfied, Ransom orders a course set for the Alpha Quadrant. The Equinox pulls away from Voyager, taking Seven and The Doctor, who are still aboard, with them.
On Voyager's bridge, fissures are opening all over. Janeway and her officers fire into them as they open, but more open immediately elsewhere.
Chakotay shouts a warning to Janeway. She whirls around, and finds one of the aliens heading directly at her.
- - Captain Ransom, bellowing out an order to temporarily drop the Equinox's deflector shields to recharge them in the face of the nucleogenic aliens' attack
"I thought we were the only Humans in the Delta Quadrant."
"That's what we used to think."
- - Marla Gilmore and Chakotay, upon first meeting each other
"Bacon, lettuce, and tomato. It was a nickname."
"Oh, how romantic."
"We broke up ten years ago, Tom. There's no need to go to red alert."
"How about yellow alert?"
"You're cute when you're jealous."
- - Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres, concerning Torres' close friendship to Equinox commander "Max"
"Well, "Turkey Platter", what do you say we go to work?"
- - Harry Kim, to Tom Paris
"I'm going to miss this ship."
"Once we get back to Earth, there'll be plenty of women."
- - Maxwell Burke and Captain Ransom, after Burke exchanges a smile with a female Voyager crewmember.
"May I ask you something, captain to captain? The Prime Directive: how often have you broken it for the sake of protecting your crew?"
"Broken it? Never. Bent it, on occasion. And even then, it was a difficult choice."
- - Captain Ransom and Captain Janeway
"We call them the life of the Delta Quadrant. They see every first contact as an excuse to throw a party."
- - Marla Gilmore, to Chakotay and Harry Kim on the Ponea
"Starfleet Regulation 3, Paragraph 12: In the event of imminent destruction, a captain is authorized to preserve the lives of his crew by any justifiable means."
"I doubt that protocol covers mass murder."
"In my judgment, it did."
- - Captain Ransom and Captain Janeway
"We traveled over ten thousand light years in less than two weeks. We'd found our salvation. How could we ignore it?"
"By adhering to the oath you took as Starfleet officers – to seek out life… not destroy it."
"It's easy to cling to your principles when you're standing on a vessel with its bulkheads intact, manned by a crew that's not starving."
"It's never easy, but if we turn our backs on our principles, we stop being Human."
- - Captain Ransom and Captain Janeway
"I'm putting an end to your experiments. And you are hereby relieved of your command. You and your crew will be confined to quarters."
"Please, show them leniency. They were only following my orders."
- - Captain Janeway and Captain Ransom
"You said you wanted to learn more about Humanity. I guess we're not exactly prized examples. I'm sorry."
"On the contrary. You've taught me a great deal."
- - Marla Gilmore and Seven of Nine
"In case you are unaware, your crew has been running criminal experiments here!"
"I know. I designed them."
"You? That's a violation of your programming!"
"They deleted my ethical subroutines."
- - The Doctor and Equinox's EMH
"A shower and a hot meal… I guess that's all it takes for some of us to forget what's at stake here. We're going home; we can't let Voyager stop us now, not when we're this close."
- - Captain Ransom
- - Chakotay, when Janeway is attacked from her back by the nucleogenic being (last line)
Story and script
- At the end of Star Trek: Voyager's fifth season, Brannon Braga and Joe Menosky required a season finale. The previous episodes of the season had tired them, however, and one of the few elements they knew they wanted to include in the forthcoming finale was a cliffhanger. Remembered Menosky, "We were all really exhausted. We didn't know what in the world we were going to do for the last episode. Brannon and Rick Berman worked out some of this episode. We probably had a week to go before prep, before Brannon came up with an idea that was workable." Braga himself recalled, "I had this image, a ship of people who were stuck in the Delta Quadrant almost as long as we have been, maybe a bit longer, but they have not responded the same way. They've done some very, very bad things, including mass murder." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 46)
- The idea was not initially appealing to Joe Menosky. "I just had no hope for it at all," he confessed. "It had the feeling of elements stitched together without a driving point of view [with a] haphazard and clunky structure and story." Menosky was attracted, however, to the prospect of introducing multiple new characters in the episode. "One thing this did have going for us is that we had four major speaking roles […] As a result we could have interesting character dynamics. You could follow threaded, character arcs in a way that felt bigger than a single episode." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 46)
- Subsequently, the writers began to pen the script for the installment. "We clarified the structure of it halfway through the writing of it," Joe Menosky stated. "Instead of sitting down and outlining it, and then writing it, we just wrote it. We didn't even know really where we were headed. We would just write a scene and think what would be cool to come next." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 46)
Cast and characters
- The role of Captain Ransom was offered to John Savage. "They needed a captain. They didn't have a story yet, and I was excited," the actor reminisced. "It evolved, and every day, a new set of pages. I found quite an interesting moral struggle in the story. It wasn't simple, and it was very supported." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 54)
- The experience of collaborating with Janeway actress Kate Mulgrew on this outing left John Savage with the impression that she would make a good director. "She was admirable with her focus," Savage noted. He also enjoyed working with Mulgrew. "I saw some wonderful possibilities and moments, like in the relationship with Captain Janeway, as man and woman, and also as captains, and as people," the actor related. "I just felt like I might have unfortunately overcomplicated myself, and had to be pulled straight by Kate. I didn't have to be. She was generous […] It was a good experience […] but we both had a lot of stuff going on." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 54)
- John Savage's presence in this episode was especially thrilling for Rick Berman, who commented, "It was a real kick to have him on the show. He did a great job." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 54)
- Star Trek: Voyager's casting department asked Titus Welliver if he wanted to portray Max Burke. Learning that John Savage was playing Captain Ransom persuaded Welliver, a long-time fan of Savage, to accept the offer. Welliver noted, "When I found out he was going to do Voyager I said, 'I'm there.'" (TV Zone, issue 126, p. 29)
- Titus Welliver was delighted to appear in this episode. He fondly remembered, "My first day of work on 'Equinox' I thought, 'I've waited close to 30 years to be on a Star Trek set, and here I am.' I was like a little kid in a candy shop […] I wish I had as much fun on all my jobs as I did on this one." (TV Zone, issue 126, pp. 29 & 31)
- Titus Welliver's appreciation for John Savage's work did not diminish after they met. Welliver recalled, "He was always asking the other guest stars and me, 'Is there anything you need? Just tell me.' My experiences on Voyager certainly fulfilled any expectations I had of him. It was an honor to work with the man." (TV Zone, issue 126, p. 29)
- As most producers and directors usually wanted Titus Welliver to play crazy characters, he found a notable contrast with the role of First Officer Burke, stating, "He's probably one of the most subtle characters that I've ever portrayed […] I felt that in order to give Burke any sort of military presence I had to play him with an incredible stillness, and I found this made him appear that much stronger. It was a challenge to be present in scenes and have to remain calm and focused as opposed to being very animated and expressive." (TV Zone, issue 126, p. 29)
- Torres actress Roxann Dawson approved of this episode's look at Torres' past relationship with Burke. "It's interesting to see how that relationship is dealt with, especially in light of B'Elanna being with Paris now," Dawson commented. "That's an interesting conflict." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 37)
- The main bridge of the Equinox is a re-use of the set used for the USS Prometheus, as are the corridors, crew quarters and science lab. They are all slightly altered to simulate the effect of damage. (citation needed • edit) According to the unauthorized reference book Delta Quadrant (p. 317), the Equinox's bridge was a redress of the Defiant's bridge and the research lab was a redress of Voyager's sickbay.
- Titus Welliver implied that both the sets for the damaged Equinox's interior and the set for the flashback scene showing Ransom and Burke meet the Ankari were on the same soundstage as each other. "Those scenes […] were shot inside a soundstage on the Paramount Studios lot that a group of cats call home," the actor laughed. "Several times I'd go to sit down in Burke's bridge chair and there would be cat hair all over the seat. It was like, 'Oh, no, the cats have invaded!'" Welliver enjoyed viewing the detail invested in the starship interior sets, however. "It was fun to see the detailed writing on the instrument panels," he said. (TV Zone, issue 126, p. 29)
- The production of this episode was a challenging process. At a point when the shooting company still had to return to the Paramount lot and film another day's work as the episode was too short, director David Livingston reflected, "It was a long shooting schedule, and very difficult, because a lot of it was with no lights. There are four sequences where we go to visit their ship, finding people dead or dying. Those were all shot with SIMs [palm] beacons, and a lot of sparks and smoke and nitrogen. It was tough on the crew, especially for the last episode, because everybody was so tired and burnt out after the long season." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 46) According to the book Delta Quadrant (p. 319), reshoots were also involved in the episode's production.
- Titus Welliver noted that the timing of the installment's production facilitated certain festivities. "We filmed the first part of 'Equinox' around Saint Patrick's Day," he said, "and Kate [Mulgrew] threw a party and we all had a blast." (TV Zone, issue #126, p. 31)
- Because this episode features a lot of members of a completely new alien species (specifically, the nucleogenic lifeforms), Visual Effects Supervisor Ronald B. Moore remarked, "This is probably the most ambitious show I have ever seen." The physical appearance of the aliens was designed by Pacific Ocean Post and was rendered CGI by Santa Barbara Studios. Similarly, the Equinox's exterior was designed by Senior Illustrator Rick Sternbach and visualized by Digital Muse. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 46)
- This episode ultimately ranked high in both Brannon Braga and Joe Menosky's opinions. Braga enthused, "It's packed with inventive action, really creepy, vicious, new CGI-created aliens, and a wonderful character dynamic." Menosky observed, "There is a feeling of character possibility and largeness to this single episode that I think substitutes for the grand sweep of the other two-parters that we have done." He also commented that the way in which the episode was written was "very satisfying creatively, in terms of how the episode and the story actually spun itself out." Menosky added, "By the end of the episode, I was really happy with it. It completely surprised me." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 46)
- David Livingston was less sure, at least initially, of whether the episode had been a complete success, remarking, "I don't know if it quite has the edginess of 'Scorpion', but maybe it will." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 31, No. 11, p. 46)
Continuity and trivia
- This is the ninth time the crew of Voyager discover a direct connection between the Alpha Quadrant and Delta Quadrant, having previously discovered a wormhole connecting the two quadrants ("Eye of the Needle"), descendants of human abductees ("The 37's"), descendants of aliens who have visited Earth ("Tattoo"), a Cardassian weapon ("Dreadnought"), Ferengi ("False Profits"), former Borg that were assimilated in the Alpha Quadrant ("Unity"), descendants of Earth dinosaurs ("Distant Origin") and a communications network that extends to the Alpha Quadrant ("Message in a Bottle"). In this episode, they encounter another Federation starship that has been brought to the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker.
- It's not made precisely clear in this episode when the Equinox was abducted by the Caretaker or how long it has spent in the Delta Quadrant. Dialog suggests it is at least two years, when Ransom says "after a couple of years, we started to forget that we were explorers", and when Burke says of Voyager's mess hall, "how could I resist after two years on emergency rations?". Given that the Caretaker's array was destroyed shortly after Voyager's arrival, and that the crew of Voyager seem not to have any record of the Equinox being missing in action, it was presumably abducted not long before Voyager.
- Ransom does not mention how many, if any, of his crew were killed during the abduction of the Equinox by The Caretaker. Voyager suffered heavy casualties amongst the senior staff at least.
- Comments from Ransom in this episode establish that Voyager is now about 35,000 light years away from the Alpha Quadrant.
- The possibility of another Federation starship being in the Delta Quadrant is discussed in the first season episode "State of Flux", when Tuvok proposes it as an explanation for Federation technology being present on a Kazon ship.
- In the earlier fifth season outing "Relativity", Vice Admiral Patterson introduces Janeway to The Doctor for the first time, remarking that Starfleet was considering outfitting his program onto all Federation starships. The Equinox apparently was another test candidate for the EMH program, as it must have been in the Delta Quadrant at that time or shortly thereafter.
- In the sixth-season episode "The Voyager Conspiracy", The USS Equinox is briefly visible on the screen when Seven of Nine shows Kathryn Janeway the Cardassian ship in astrometrics among the 52 ships that Neelix' ship's sensors recorded at the Caretaker's array.
- Of the obstacles that Voyager has faced in the Delta Quadrant, Janeway mentions "a few rounds with the Borg", in a reference to the events of "Scorpion", "Drone", and "Dark Frontier".
- This is the last episode of Star Trek: Voyager to air before the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series finale "What You Leave Behind" on 2 June 1999.
- This was the last Star Trek season finale until "Will You Take My Hand?", the first season finale of Star Trek: Discovery, not to be directed by Allan Kroeker.
- The fuel potential of the aliens' nucleogenic bodies represents the twelfth occasion besides the series premiere (after "Eye of the Needle", "Prime Factors", "The 37's", "Cold Fire", "Threshold", "Death Wish", "False Profits", "Future's End, Part II", "The Q and the Grey", "Timeless", and "Dark Frontier") that the Voyager crew is presented with the possibility of returning home much faster than by conventional warp travel. In this case, the technology works, but is considered ethically unacceptable.
Video and DVD releases
- The first Voyager volume distributed by PHE.
- In feature-length form, as part of the UK VHS collection Star Trek: Voyager - Movies: Volume 3 (with "The Killing Game"), 5 February 2001
- As part of the VOY Season 5 DVD collection
Links and references
- Robert Beltran as Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Tuvok
- Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
- Garrett Wang as Harry Kim
Special Guest Star
- Steve Blalock as operations officer
- Dave DeLeon as operations officer
- Carter Edwards as command officer
- Andrew English as operations officer
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Peter Harmyk as Thompson
- Kerry Hoyt as Fitzpatrick
- Joyce Lasley as Lydia Anderson
- Robert Picardo as Equinox EMH
- Keith Rayve as Ankari
- Mark Rogerson as Brian Sofin
- Drew Renkewitz as Equinox command officer
- Richard Sarstedt as Ankari
- Brian Simpson as Angelo Tassoni
- Unknown actors as
- Unknown actresses as
ability; Alpha Quadrant; Amantes, David; amputation; Ankari; Ankari homeworld; antimatter injector; astrometrics; attack; azimuth; auto-initiating security grid; bacon; "BLT"; Borg Collective; Bowler, John; brig; Caretaker; Chang, Dorothy; checkers; claustrophobia; confined to quarters; course; damage; data; day; deck plate; dedication plaque; degree (angle); Delta Quadrant; desiccation; dilithium; dilithium matrix; dozen; duet; Earth; Emergency Medical Hologram; emergency rations; engineering; engineering ability; EPS conduit; Equinox, USS; ethical subroutine; exobiology; family; Federation; field generator; first name; Gilmore's nephew; girlfriend; holodeck; hull breach; initials; inoculation; internal sensor; interspatial fissure; intruder alert; ion storm; isogram; Jefferies tube; kemocite; kilometer; kiloton; kindred spirit; Krowtonan Guard; laser scalpel; lettuce; M class; Maquis; mass murder; matter conversion technology; maximum warp; mercurium; meter; multiphasic chamber; multiphasic force field; mutagenic virus; nephew; neural pattern; nucleogenic energy; neural interface; Nova-class; offline; petaQ; plasma injector; plasma torch; poetic justice; polaron grid; Ponea; post-traumatic stress syndrome; power coupling; primary system; Prime Directive; recharge cycle; red alert; Regis, Edward; rescue team; sandal; second; security grid; sedative; shield emitter; sonic shower; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet oath; Starfleet Regulations; stasis chamber; submolecular resequencer; subroutine; sweater; synaptic stimulator; thermionic radiation; thermographic analysis; thermolytic reaction; transport enhancer; triquadric algorithm; tomato; trench; tricorder; tuning fork; turbolift; "Turkey Platter"; universal translator; vector; Vulcan; warp core; warp drive; warp plasma manifold; waverider; Yates, William; year; yellow alert; Yridians
- "Equinox" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Equinox" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Equinox" at Wikipedia
|Star Trek: Voyager
"Equinox, Part II"