Star Trek: Voyager turns 28 this month, can you believe it? The whole Voyager crew is made up of super fun characters well worth their time in the spotlight, but as the saying goes, "a ship is only as good as its captain." Join us as we look at five episodes that made Captain Janeway shine.
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Season 2, Episode 23 — "The Thaw"
One thing to know about Captain Janeway is that she will use all resources at her disposal to get something done, even resorting to trickery if necessary. While this fact is put on display throughout the series, it really has its chance to shine in the episode "The Thaw". After finding a group of people trapped in stasis pods on an icy planet, B'Elanna and Harry investigate them further. When they become trapped, they're transported into a computer that's ruled a malevolent computer program that takes the form of the clown. The program threatens to kill Harry, B'Elanna, and the rest of its victims unless it gets a fresh body to escape from the simulation. With some quick thinking, Janeway tricks the program into possessing a holographic copy of her, and frees the refugees as the computer self-destructs.
Season 3, Episode 12 — "Macrocosm"
It's not a Star Trek series without an episode where the ship is boarded or infiltrated by strange aliens, and this one is Voyager's. After returning to the ship with Neelix, after establishing trade with a new species, Janeway discovers that the crew is unconscious and being forced to host insect-like lifeforms. After being attacked by one and narrowly escaping, Captain Janeway dons a tank top and phaser rifle and sets off to find out why her ship is being overrun. She eventually comes across The Doctor, who tells her that he had gone down to another ship to help treat a viral infection, not knowing that he could transport it back with him. After getting an anti-viral treatment from The Doctor, Janeway fights through the virus like Ellen Ripley and releases the treatment throught the ship's airways, saving the crew.
Season 4, Episode 2 — "The Gift"
Captain Janeway always looks after people, even if one of them could be considered an enemy. After the previous episode, "Scorpion", left the Borg drone Seven of Nine stranded from the rest of her collective and severed from the hivemind, she falls into the care of the Voyager crew. Hoping to save Seven from the malfunction of her Borg implants, Janeway allows The Doctor to begin excising them, hoping to bring back her physical human appearance. Along with these surgeries, Janeway herself tries to break the Borg's conditioning of Seven and get her to accept herself as an individual. Even after Seven tries to contact the Collective and puts the Voyager crew in danger, Janeway still tries to help her, finally breaking through to her and connecting with Seven's humanity. This relationship would blossom over the rest of the series, with Janeway becoming Seven's mentor and guiding her journey of rediscovering her humanity.
Season 4, Episodes 8 and 9 — "Year of Hell"
Throughout the series to this point, we've learned that Captian Janeway will do whatever is necessary to save the most amount of people possible, even at overwhelming odds. This need to be a savior is put on full display in this two-part episode when the crew of the Voyager goes up against an enemy that can manipulate the flow of time itself, the Krenim Annorax. A scientist who wanted to stop his people from losing their place in the galaxy, Annorax discovered that he could manipulate the flow of time with a weapon to restore his people to prominence, but in doing so he unleashed a plague that killed most of his species, including his wife. For the next 200 years, what was left of the Krenim manipulated the timeline, and they finally came across Voyager. For a full year the crew tries to fight back against the Krenim, with Janeway leading the charge on an almost completely destroyed Voyager with nothing but a skeleton crew and a new coallition of allies to stop the Krenim for good. In a last-ditch effort to save the timeline, Janeway flies the Voyager directly into the Krenim warship. In doing so, she destroys it and resets the timeline, erasing the last year from existance.
Season 5, Episode 12 — "Bride of Chaotica!"
Holodeck episodes are a way for Star Trek shows to explore fun new genres, and Voyager's entry into this line of episodes is no different. When Harry and Tom are taking a break in their "Captain Proton" simulation, a serial modeled after sci-fi shows like Flash Gordon, a species of interdimensional beings comes out of a spatial distortion and into their simulated world. This new species comes into conflict with the serial's villain, Dr. Chaotica, whose holographic weapons can actually hurt the interdimensional travelers. Trying to stop this war from happening, various crew members assume the role of characters from "Captain Proton" with Captain Janeway reluctantly becoming Arachnia, Queen of the Spider People. Janeway does her best performance of a campy '30s femme fatale to woo Dr. Chaotica and almost succeeds, only to be captured at the last second. Freeing herself, Janeway is able to take down her holographic foe and lower the forcefield around his castle, allowing Tom as Captain Proton to destroy it and set the aliens free. Kate Mulgrew's campy perfomance makes this a standout episode for any fan of classic sci-fi.