Star Trek Voyager - The Complete Second Season
DVD | Box Set
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Includes all 26 episodes plus excellent bonus features and interviews. 7 DVDs. 1995-96/color/19 hrs/NR/fullscreen.
If the first season of Star Trek: Voyager was a shakedown cruise, then season 2 represents a vital blossoming of the series' potential. As Captain Janeway, Kate Mulgrew maintained Starfleet integrity in the lawless expanse of the Delta quadrant, and became the ethical conscience of her still-uneasy Maquis/Starfleet crew, whose unanimous loyalty would be dramatically proven in "The '37's" (a first-season hold-over). Janeway's moral guidance would also assert itself in "Death Wish" (a "Q" episode featuring NextGen's Jonathan Frakes) and "Tuvix," in which life-or-death decisions landed squarely on her shoulders. Season 2 brought similar development to all the primary characters, deepening their relationships and defining their personalities, especially Robert Beltran as Chakotay (in "Initiations" and "Tattoo"), now firmly established as Janeway's best friend (and nearly more than that, in "Resolutions") and command-decision confidante.
Solid sci-fi concepts abound in season 2, although "Threshold" is considered an embarrassment (as confessed by co-executive producer Brannon Braga in a self-deprecating "Easter Egg" interview clip). It was a forgivable lapse in a consistently excellent season that intensified Janeway's struggle with the villainous Kazon, exacerbated by a Starfleet traitor in cahoots with the duplicitous Cardassian Seska (played by Martha Hackett, featured in a lively guest-star profile). The psychologically intense "Meld" (featuring a riveting guest performance by Brad Dourif) was a Tuvok-story highlight, and the aptly titled "Basics, Pt. 1" provided an ominous cliffhanger, including a second planetary landing (in a season full of impressive special effects) that left Voyager's fate in question. DVD extras are abundant and worthwhile, especially the season 2 retrospective and "A Day in the Life of Ethan Phillips" (who plays Neelix under a daily ordeal of latex makeup). Several Easter egg surprises--including a music video performance by Tim Russ (Tuvok)--are hidden (but easily found) among the "Special Features" menus on disc 7. All in all, this was one of Voyager's finest seasons, leaving some enticing questions to be answered in season 3. --Jeff ShannonSee all Editorial Reviews
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Top customer reviews
My biggest complaint is the packaging though. While the idea was interesting, I hate how it was done. The little plastic case box should have been done different. The top just slides right off so if you don't hold the case in the first spot and firmly it will slip right out of your hand and the cheap plastic that holds the discs will likely shatter. Another thing is the plastic holding the discs. They are all held together at the "spine" by what looks like a thing piece of tape and it's very difficult to carefully turn the plastic cases to find the right disc. The casing is horrible and it makes it hard for me to want to pay the $40+ for the later seasons.
Episode 9 Tatoo - this is the best Chakotay centered episode in all 7 seasons, although still not anywhere near my top 10. We all know what a space cowboy episode looks like, but how about a space Indian (space native american?) story? This episode provides a deeply moving answer while exploring the importance of family tradition and touching on the principles of faith that are beyond explanation by reason.
Episode 16 Meld - A taut examination of the dark past of the Vulcan species, during their barbaric phase before the enlightenment of logic. Tuvok has an irresistible attraction to the dark side of a psychopathic killer which drives him to virtually insist on a mind meld. I love the idea that everyone's dark impulses are never far from the surface - not even Tuvok's.
Episode 18 Death Wish - the Q contemplate the meaning of suicide and death within the context of their omnipotence. Very well developed arguments for and against suicide which, as they must, touch on what it means to have freedom and power and agency. Although it is not directly presented, I found myself asking the question whether I could be fully happy in a world with absolutely no mystery, no joy of discovery like the one the Q inhabits.
Episode 22 Innocence - another good episode about death and dying following shortly after Death Wish. The plot has nothing in common with Death Wish other than certain themes about what is must be like to die. Here, the big idea is how quickly and instinctively we want to believe that our cultural ideas are universal and true to the point that we feel compelled to impose them on others. A very satisfying surprise ending drives home the point.
Among these gems, there are some failed episodes. I tried to cross check writers and episodes but there is no one weak writer. Everyone makes the occasional clunker for whatever reason. These are the worst of Season 2:
Episode 2 Initiations - yet another weak Chakotay story. A renegade ship commander who survived for years in the disputed territory between Cardassian and Federation space, somehow gets captured by little boy Kazon warriors. Chakotay and one of the boy warriors take turns saving each others lives until time mercifully runs out on the plot.
Episode 5 Non-sequitur - A pointless alternative timeline where Harry Kim time travels from the Delta quadrant back to the Alpha quadrant and his former life. He is on Earth, living with his fiancée, working on important scientific research. Naturally he finds himself compelled to abandon this good fortune and risk his life as well as others to get back to the objectively worse timeline he came from.
Episode 11 Maneuvers - [SPOILER ALERT] Preposterous Kazon soap opera concluding with the “I’m carrying your baby” trope. Thoroughly unbelievable from the start with shocking strategic twists and turns all of which were of course anticipated by the other side with previously deployed countermeasures. Probably the single worst episode of all seven seasons.