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The Best Captain Janeway Episodes From Star Trek Voyager

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Published April 23rd 2020
Captain Kathryn Janeway is a cult figure in Star Trek
The Best Captain Janeway Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
"Coffee, black."

"We're Starfleet officers. Weird is part of the job."

Captain Kathryn Janeway, Star Trek Voyager

Star Trek fans have a saying. There are three ways to do something. The right way, the wrong way, and the Janeway. Captain Kathryn Janeway is a fictional character in the Star Trek franchise and the main protagonist of the television series Star Trek: Voyager. Janeway was the first female captain and female lead character on a Star Trek series and was played by Kate Mulgrew from 1995 to 2001. The decision to give Star Trek Voyager a female captain was made to push Star Trek in a new direction and to be socially responsible and open-minded. Janeway was created to be a nurturing, charismatic woman in her early forties, who was less swashbuckling than Kirk, less sullen than Sisko and more friendly and approachable than Picard. The result was Captain Kathryn Janeway, a firm but kind captain, who treats her crew as a family and is protective of them as a mother. Captain Janeway has been ranked one of the best characters in Star Trek and is fondly remembered for her love of coffee and for how she managed to unite a crew made up of Starfleet and Maquis to get them home to Earth after getting stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Here are some of her best moments:

1. Bride of Chaotica!

The Best Captain Janeway Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
Captain Janeway dresses up as Queen Arachnia on the holodeck

Episode Details: Episode 12, Season 5
Air Date: 27 January 1999
Written by: Michael Taylor and Bryan Fuller
Directed by: Allan Kroeker

Best Quote:

Captain Kathryn Janeway: "Let me get this straight. Trans-dimensional aliens have mistaken your Captain Proton simulation for reality?"

Tom Paris: "Yes, ma'am."

Captain Kathryn Janeway: "And now an armed conflict has broken out between these aliens and Chaotica's holographic army?"

Tom Paris: "Yes, ma'am. His Army of Evil."

Tom Paris explains to Captain Janeway that aliens have taken over his Captain Proton simulation, "Bride of Choatica!" Star Trek Voyager

"Bride of Chaotica!" is a fun episode set in the holodeck. Voyager is contacted by trans-dimensional photonic lifeforms who appear on the holodeck and mistake Tom Paris' "The Adventures of Captain Proton" holodeck program for reality and end up getting in a very real and serious conflict with the fictional Doctor Chaotica and his Army of Evil. Unable to shut down the holodeck or communicate with the aliens, the crew of Voyager is left with little options except to play along with the Captain Proton storyline, in the hope that they might be able to defeat Doctor Chaotica and end the conflict. Paris convinces Janeway to take on the role of Queen Arachnia, who he claims will be influential in defeating Chaotica and destroying his death ray. Janeway is hesitant, but with some encouragement from her crew, agrees to take on the role. The rest of the episode plays out on the holodeck in black and white like a movie from the 1930s. "Bride of Chaotica!" is such a fun, well written, comedic, creative episode. Kate Mulgrew is a delight as Queen Arachnia and commented that it was "so much fun" to play such an outrageous, silly character.

2. The Gift

The Best Captain Janeway Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
Captain Janeway fights to disconnect Seven of Nine from the Borg

Episode Details: Episode 2, Season 4
Air Date: 10 September 1997
Written by: Joe Menosky
Directed by: Anson Williams

Best Quote:

Captain Kathryn Janeway: "Do you remember her? Her name was Annika Hansen. She was born on stardate 25479 at the Tendara Colony. There's still a lot we don't know about her. Did she have any siblings? Who were her friends? Where did she go to school? What was her favourite colour?"

Seven: "Irrelevant! Take me back to the Borg."

Captain Kathryn Janeway: "I can't do that."

Seven: "So quiet. One voice."

Captain Kathryn Janeway: "One voice can be stronger than a thousand voices. Your mind is independent now, with its own unique identity."

Seven: "You are forcing that identity upon me. It's not mine."

Captain Kathryn Janeway: "Oh yes, it is. I'm just giving you back what was stolen from you. The existence you were denied, the child who never had a chance. That life is yours to live now."

Seven: "Don't want that life."

Captain Kathryn Janeway: "It's what you are. Don't resist it."

Seven: "No!"

Janeway gives Seven the gift of individuality, "The Gift" Star Trek Voyager

Out of all of the relationships that Captain Janeway has throughout the run of Star Trek Voyager, one of my favourites is her mother-daughter relationship with Seven of Nine. Seven of Nine was born Annika Hansen and was assimilated by the Borg when she was six-years-old. After her assimilation, she became known as Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01. Captain Janeway encountered Seven of Nine in the episode "Scorpion: Part II" when she made an alliance with the Borg to help them defeat and assimilate a species that threatened them known as Species 8472. Seven of Nine was chosen by the Borg as a single representative to communicate with the Voyager crew. Captain Janeway and the Voyager crew were able to disconnect Seven of Nine from the collective and in the episode "The Gift" begin the slow process of transitioning Seven of Nine back to humanity. Seven of Nine is a fascinating character. Traumatized and brainwashed by the Borg, she doesn't know how to be human, so she resists Captain Janeway's efforts to help her become more human. But Captain Janeway is determined to rehabilitate her and goes against the wishes of her crew to give her a chance to reclaim the life that was stolen from her from the Borg. Captain Janeway's passionate speech to Seven of Nine to reclaim her humanity is a powerful moment that is beautifully and passionately acted by Kate Mulgrew. I love that Captain Janeway fights so hard to rehabilitate Seven of Nine. She doesn't see a Borg monster. She sees a human woman who was a victim of the Borg and has never had a chance to live a normal life. Her gift to Seven is the return of her humanity. She becomes her mentor, friend and role model.

3. Dark Frontier Part 1 and Part 2

The Best Captain Janeway Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
Captain Janeway has a very special relationship with Seven of Nine

Episode Details: Episodes 15 and 16, Season 5
Air Date: 17 February 1999
Written by: Brannon Braga and Joe Menosky
Directed by: Cliff Bole and Terry Windell

Best Quote:

Captain Kathryn Janeway: "Don't listen to her, Seven. She's irrelevant."

Janeway confronts the Borg Queen, "Dark Frontier Part 2" Star Trek Voyager

"Dark Frontier Part I and Part II" is a great two-part episode that focuses on the relationship between Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine. In a bold and reckless move, Captain Janeway comes up with a plan to steal a transwarp coil from a damaged Borg sphere, in the hope that they might be able to use the technology to help Voyager get home.

Janeway enlists several members of the Voyager crew, including Seven of Nine, to help with the mission. Janeway orders Seven to review the data logs of her parents, Magnus and Erin Hansen, for anything that might help with the mission. Seven is hesitant to review the data, because her parents were studying the Borg, and it was because of their recklessness that she was assimilated and turned into a Borg at six-years-old. The Captain insists the data is important, so Seven reluctantly agrees to review the data, telling the Captain that the information belongs to her.

News of what Captain Janeway is planning reaches the Borg Queen, who contacts Seven of Nine and gives her an ultimatum, return to the Collective or watch as Voyager is assimilated. Seven finds herself torn between her memories of her parents, her life as a former Borg, and her new life on Voyager. In an emotional scene, she thanks Janeway for disconnecting her from the Collective, and tells her that Voyager is her collective now and that their survival is important to her. Once onboard, the Borg sphere, Seven decides to rejoin the Borg, in the hope that Voyager will be spared.

Janeway is devastated and refuses to leave without her, even pointing her phaser at her, but eventually beams out and leaves her behind. Once Janeway returns to Voyager, she is frustrated and confused over Seven's actions. She refuses to believe that Seven would willingly rejoin the Collective and becomes determined to retrieve her from the Borg. Her instincts tell her that she can be redeemed and that she is worth fighting for. I love the scene when Janeway beams into the Borg Cube and confronts the Borg Queen, her rifle raised high, and calmly tells Seven of Nine not to listen to her. Seven and the Captain are able to escape from the Borg and return to Voyager. The episode ends with Seven regenerating in her alcove back onboard Voyager with Janeway watching her fondly, like a mother gazing at her child.

4. Night

The Best Captain Janeway Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
Captain Janeway reflects on her past actions

Episode Details: Episode 1, Season 5
Air Date: 14 October 1998
Written by: Brannon Braga and Joe Menosky
Directed by: David Livingston

Best Quote:

Captain Kathryn Janeway: "Tom, set a course."

[Tom remains in his seat with his arms crossed]

Captain Kathryn Janeway: "Lieutenant, I gave you an order."

Tom Paris: "I can't follow that order, ma'am."

Captain Kathryn Janeway: "Harry, take the helm."

Harry Kim: "I'm sorry, Captain."

[Janeway looks at the other crew members one by one, finally at Seven... ]

Seven of Nine: I will not comply.

[... and the Doctor]

The Doctor: What's a hologram to do?

Tuvok: As you can see, you're not the only one who's had time to evaluate the past.

The crew stands up to Janeway, "Night" Star Trek Voyager

In the episode "Night" Voyager enters a region of space that is completely void of stars systems. In order for them to return home to the Alpha Quadrant, Voyager has no choice but to cross the expanse. Due to large quantities of theta radiation polluting the area, Voyager's sensors cannot see anything past the region, which means the ship is surrounded by a suffocating black nothingness. When the episode begins, Voyager has been travelling through the void for two months now. The crew is feeling isolated, alone and bored, with nothing to do except to stockpile fuel to enable them to survive their journey through the void.

Captain Janeway reacts very negatively to being stuck in the void. With nothing to keep her busy, Janeway starts to dwell on how they ended up lost in the Delta Quadrant, and feels guilt over the choice she made which left them stranded on the other side of the galaxy. Her guilt becomes her constant companion, which concerns her senior staff, who fear she might try and do something rash to try and make amends for her past decision. The crew later discovers that the void is occupied by a single species indigenous to the region, an extremely photosensitive race of aliens that are involved in a conflict with the Malon, an industrialist race of aliens who have been illegally dumping large quantities of theta radiation in the area, which has been poisoning the native inhabitants.

The Malon, Voyager later finds out, has been coming and going into the void via a spatial vortex. After the Malon refuse to stop dumping the waste, Voyager is faced with the same dilemma which got them stranded in the Delta Quadrant: do they destroy the vortex to save the aliens native to the void or do they enter the vortex themselves and use it to escape the void? Unwilling to make the same mistake again that got them stranded, Janeway orders Voyager to enter the vortex and escape, and tells them that she will stay behind in a shuttlecraft and destroy the void herself after Voyager uses it to escape. She then instructs Voyager to continue on to the Alpha Quadrant without her.

To her surprise, her crew refuses to follow her commands. Her senior staff had been expecting she might try and sacrifice herself, so they warned the rest of the bridge crew in advance. Janeway is angry at their insubordination but is also touched at their loyalty, so she abandons her plans and asks for their suggestions. Her crew come up with a plan that enables them to use the vortex to escape the void and then disable it to stop the Malon from using it again. I really like how the Voyager crew stands up to Janeway in this episode and demonstrates their loyalty to her. The Voyager crew are a family and they will not abandon their Captain.

5.Year of Hell Part 1 and Part 2

The Best Captain Janeway Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
Captain Janeway tearfully embraces one of her closest friends Tuvok

Episode Details: Episodes 8 and 9, Season 4
Air Date: 5 November 1997 and 12 November 1997
Written by: Brannon Braga and Joe Menosky
Directed by: Allan Kroeker (Part 1) and Mike Vejar (Part 2)

Best Quote:

Captain Kathryn Janeway: "Each of you has done your best, but determination alone isn't going to hold this ship together. It's time we faced reality. We've lost nine decks; more than half the ship has been destroyed; life support is nearly gone. Voyager can no longer sustain its crew. I promised myself that I would never give this order, that I would never break up this family, but asking you to stay... would be asking you to die. You will proceed to the escape pods and evacuate this vessel. Set your course for the Alpha Quadrant. Along the way, try to find allies; secure faster ships if you can - anything to get home. The senior staff and I will remain on board as long as possible. We will try - somehow - to rescue Tom and Chakotay. The escape pods are equipped with subspace beacons. That's how we'll keep track of you. When we find each other again - and we will... we will find each other again - I expect all of you to be in one piece, with some interesting stories to tell. Good luck."

Janeway gives a speech to her crew, "Year of Hell" Star Trek Voyager

"Year of Hell" is a two-part episode from season four of Star Trek Voyager that is largely considered one of the best episodes of the series. The episode reached an audience of 4.7 million when it first aired and it has been featured in multiple lists ranking the best Star Trek Voyager episodes.

"Year of Hell" introduces one of the most interesting villains ever to appear on Star Trek Voyager, Annorax of the Krenim Imperium. Annorax is a brilliant temporal scientist from the Krenim Imperium who controls a powerful spaceship armed with a weapon that is able to rewrite history by performing a "temporal incursion" which can change the past. Annorax is obsessed with returning the Krenim Imperium to its former glory no matter the cost, which means performing multiple temporal incursions, creating time ripples which delete entire civilisations and rewrites the history of others. The temporal incursions do not affect Annorax and his crew due to the technology on the ship.

Annorax is never happy with the changes in the timeline and keeps insisting his crew probe the continuum to search for the target event that he believes will restore the Imperium to what it used to be. Voyager gets involved with Annorax after being hit by a space-time shock wave generated from a temporal incursion. After the wave passes, the timeline changes and the Krenim Imperium doubles in strength and size. Voyager ends up finding themselves under near constant attack by Krenim warships, which use chroniton torpedoes to inflict serious damage on the Federation starship. The damage to Voyager is extreme, resulting in multiple explosions, loss of life, and injuries. Eventually, the crew of Voyager is able to alter their shields to protect against the chroniton torpedo attacks, and the result is they end up protected from the next temporal incursion triggered by Annorax. This brings Voyager to the attention of Annorax, who vows to destroy the Federation vessel for disrupting his calculations.

"Year of Hell" does a good job exploring the connection that Janeway has with Voyager. After years of being stranded in the Delta Quadrant, Janeway has developed a strong bond with her ship. In this episode, she even speaks out loud to the ship in one scene, telling it to "be kind" to her, before she has to enter a room filled with fire to fix deflector control. "Year of Hell" was a fantastic, well-written, fast paced episode of Star Trek Voyager. It was great seeing Voyager in such a damaged, wrecked state and watching Captain Janeway fight so hard to keep her crew safe and her ship in one piece.

6. The Chute

The Best Captain Janeway Episodes from Star Trek Voyager
Captain Janeway always goes to great lengths to defend her crew

Episode Details: Season 3, Episode 3
Air Date: 18 September 1996
Written by: Kenneth Biller and Clayvon C. Harris
Directed by: Les Landau

Best Quote:

Ambassador Liria : Perhaps you've misunderstood me. Let me clarify our position: your vessel is being impounded; you and your crew are under arrest. Prepare to be boarded!

Lt. Tuvok: "Captain, their ships are powering weapons."

Captain Kathryn Janeway: "Mr. Tuvok, raise shields. Mr. Chakotay, take the conn."

Captain Kathryn Janeway : [to Liria] "I'd like to resolve this situation peacefully, Ambassador, but let me clarify my position: I will not allow this ship to be boarded."

Ambassador Liria : "That, Captain, is an error in judgment."

Captain Janeway defends her ship, "The Chute" Star Trek Voyager

"The Chute" is a Harry Kim focused episode, that has some good Captain Janeway moments in it. The episode begins with Ensign Harry Kim and Lieutenant Tom Paris being sent to an alien prison after being accused of a terrorist bombing. Harry and Kim ends up in a maximum security detention facility where the only entrance and exit is a chute that spaceships can dock with. The prisoners in the facility are left to fend for themselves and have been fitted with a neural implant called "the clamp" that is designed to stress them out until they snap and kill each other. There is no way to remove the clamp safely and the only exit from the prison is the chute they arrived in.

As Kim and Paris struggle to survive, Captain Janeway tries to prove their innocence, but the Akritirians are aggressive, suspicious and non-cooperative. Even after Janeway manages to find and capture the real terrorist bombers, proving her crewmen are innocent, the Akritirians do not change their attitude and refuse to release Kim and Paris. This forces Janeway to mount a rescue mission. She finds out the location and shield codes for the prison Kim and Paris are being held in and sneaks back into Akritirian space onboard Neelix's shuttlecraft.

In the prison, an alarm sounds, and the prisoners gather around the chute expecting a new prisoner to arrive. But it is Janeway who comes down the chute, wielding a large phaser rifle, with Tuvok following close behind her. Janeway takes out the prisoners in a wide-beam phaser shot, grabs her crewmen, and they all make a quick escape. I love how aggressively Janeway defends her crewmen in this episode. After diplomacy fails, she has no problem with breaking into the prison and forcibly retrieving her men. The scene when she comes down out of the chute, stands up, and raises her phaser rifle is excellent. Janeway is a tough Captain who is not afraid to take chances and break the rules to protect her crew.
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Why? Kathryn Janeway was the Captain of the U.S.S Voyager. She overcame great obstacles to get her crew home after being stranded on the other side of the galaxy.
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