291 – “The Disease” and “Course: Oblivion”

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Covering “The Disease” and “Course: Oblivion.”

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One thought on “291 – “The Disease” and “Course: Oblivion”

  1. I’m afraid I have to strongly disagree about Course: Oblivion. One of your major criticisms of VOY is its hyperfocus on the network-mandated episodic format (which I totally agree with!). “The crew gets involved in an internal conflict with aliens we never saw before and will never see again.” Yet here, the Weird Aliens Of The Week actually return, and Voyager fucked them up. We’re given to see, in the first time since forever, an up close look at Voyager’s negative impact on the Delta Quadrant.

    So far this only came up when that translator guy wanted to exact revenge against the crew for aiding the Borg, or when the Doctor’s copy was reactivated on a planet whose history was shaped by their actions. Now, the viewer is confronted by an unresolved end. The living quicksilver aliens had copied the crew’s bodies and minds. The crew said to them “play nice” and flew on. And then what? Lacking a sense of purpose, they fully adopted their replicated identities and embarked on a fool’s errand to reach Earth. Once they started dying off and realized the true nature of their existence, it was too late. They couldn’t even so much as tell the only other people in the entire universe who know they exist of their fate. The die alone and unmourned.

    That Voyager had a massive impact on them, but the aliens had next to none on them is the point.

    That’s gut-punching tragedy. That’s the bleak nihilism that elevated DS9. It’s a big universe. For all the good Federation ships do, there’s always negative effects their adventures can cause. It goes against Trek’s overall theme that everything can be made better with bravery and reversing neutron charges, and I believe that explains a large part of the backlash against this episode, but for me that’s a bold creative decision that made this into one of my fave VOY episodes.

    Those guys were doomed by Voyager to a slow, agonizing and undignified death as well as to forgottenness, to oblivion. And the show didn’t flinch from showing us every last detail. That’s some damn powerful stuff.

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