"Coda"

Season Three, Episode 15
Written by Jeri Taylor
Directed by Nancy Malone
Main Cast:
Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway
Robert Beltran as Chakotay
Roxann Dawson as B'Elanna Torres
Jennifer Lien as Kes
Robert Duncan McNeill as Tom Paris
Ethan Phillips as Neelix
Robert Picardo as The Doctor
Tim Russ as Tuvok
Garrett Wang as Harry Kim

Guest Cast:
Len Cariou as Admiral Janeway

Plot:

Following an accident involving a shuttle, Janeway is apparently killed. But first of all it appears that she and Chakotay are actually in a time loop, until events take a different twist - back on the ship Janeway is diagnosed as having caught the Vidiian Phage. Or has she really been dead all along?


Review: 

I really wanted to like this one; honest, I did! But what initially sounded like an intriguing premise is nothing more than a convoluted shambles which seems largely comprised of fragments from previous Trek episodes. There are some effective scenes during towards the middle of the episode, but for the most part it's a mess.

Coda starts off almost like a tedious parody of The Next Generation's Cause and Effect with Janeway's numerous "deaths" becoming quite ridiculous, losing whatever dramatic momentum they ought to have. The episode picked up slightly following the appearance of Janeway's "father" and the scenes where she begins to question whether she truly is dead are quite effective. Her memorial service was quite well performed (particularly Roxann Dawson) even though it doesn't bear a patch on Sisko's  heart-wrenching memorial in DS9's The Visitor.

Unfortunately things go completely down-hill with a dreadful conclusion where Coda once again descends into Trekkian cliche - the alien life-form that feeds off humans has been done countless times (Operation Annihilate, Sub Rosa, even Voyager's own Flashback are but a few) and fell pretty much flat on its face. I also found the episode's suggestion that Near Death Experiences are a result of alien life-forms trying to feed off human neural patterns at death both pathetically contrived and downright offensive (and no, I'm not a religious fanatic, before that crosses your mind!). I was also particularly disturbed when the Doctor plays executioner under the name of "euthanasia" following Janeway's contraction of the phage. Yeah, I know this scene wasn't actually "real", but this isn't the first time Voyager has had anti-euthanasia undertones (Emanations also comes to mind) and frankly I found it quite offensive. Not a good episode.

Rating: 4


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