Can I just have a Blu-ray set of everything Jonathan Frakes ever directed? I see, and acknowledge, all the writing issues that @LeftHandedGuitarist pointed out, but Frakes' directing makes this episode wonderfully fun in spite of them.
Voyager as a whole may not dig into its characters overly much, it's true. With Frakes calling the shots, though, there's just so much life in all the little things. This was probably the first episode of the series so far in my current rewatch where most of the crew actually seemed like the same people I remember. ("Non Sequitur" was another, but only on Harry Kim's part, since most of the cast is absent for nearly the whole episode.) Part of that is just because it's a solid quarter of the way into season two now, but I'd say the majority of the effect is due to Frakes' influence. I adored coming across episodes of Leverage that he directed, too, while watching that series over the past year or so.
Yes, Neelix is still a jealous child in this story. Yes, the "resolution" of his and Tom's "personal problem" is trite. I really don't care. If every episode of Voyager was like this, the show might not have such a poor reputation among viewers.
Fun episode; Nelix and Tom bury the hatchet and the phrase "Practice Harry, Practice!" was born
Is it my imagination but in some initial scenes the alien space craft seemed to be tiny against Voyager, then, all of a sudden it is shown as being a larger mass... perspective I guess
It's funny because I came on here to say how mediocre the directing is on this ep, and then I see dgw say it was Jonathan Frakes, and I understand exactly. I've always thought JF doesn't get great performances out of the actors, and I think it shows in this episode. Voyager is my favorite Trek, and this is one of my least favorite episodes.
I was worried when this started as it looked like was going to be an episode all about Neelix and his jealousy. It turns out that it is, but it's nowhere near as bad as I had feared. Tom and Neelix really needed to work their differences out, and in true cliched TV tradition they get stranded together. It becomes a prime example of how simplistic the writing on this show was, as the two of them bond over a baby and magically resolve all of their differences. You could argue that Trek in general operates like this, but Voyager somehow makes it much harder to stomach. Still, I'm really glad that the Neelix/Paris jealousy story is over.
It's also a shame that the alien baby puppet looks like a reject from that '90s TV show Dinosaurs.
I really appreciated the calmer moments of this one, such as Harry playing clarinet and the Doctor's discussion with Kes. Voyager was not one for really digging into characters, so when the moments occur I tend to enjoy them. I think this also wins the prize for the most insane camera shaking ever during the shuttle's crash landing. That was absolutely nuts.Janeway's new hairdo is awesome.