Homestead

By AntonyF
Posted at May 13, 2001 - 2:22 PM GMT

'Homestead'- copyright Paramount Pictures Rating:7.5/10
Episode: #269
Written By: Raf Green
Directed By: LeVar Burton


Subliminal messages. I think we're being fed subliminal messages, or maybe not so subliminal. With the next series pretty much certain to be a prequel setting, the numerous comments and events dropped into Voyager seem to be softening us up. In the last few episodes we've had two references to Kirk and a probe from pre-Starfleet Earth. A probe that was to have the voice of Zephram Cochrane, according to the script. That didn't actually happen, so I took the inclusion of Zephram Cochrane talk at the beginning of 'Homestead' to be very deliberate recompense. Of course Neelix goes on to talk of the Vulcans' first contact with Earth, what was said etc. I suspect it's all hinting at what's to come. Sort of like Ferengi females pre-chewing the food, the Voyager writers are pre-chewing the next series now. There are of course the other subliminal messages. Did you see them? If you freeze frame the early scenes youíll see 'Berman + Braga = good' and 'Watching Star Trek is right.'

Getting back to the story at hand, how the hell did those Talaxians get out there? Am I missing something? That ridiculous element aside, this episode surprised me in more than one way. I went in with a couple of pre-conceptions, and they were admittedly changed. Plus some opinions were formed and changed as the episode went on. Most prevalent was the thought that the episode was too simplistic in nature. The damsel in distress with the innocent child, and with the husband dead the stranger comes into save them. It was as I was chastising the story for these very reasons that I realized this is in fact may be truer to Voyager than I thought possible. It could just be bad writing, but I think it's more about finally reaching what Neelix is all about. I really can't remember very well, but I'm sure Neelix was likened to a sort of Clint Eastwood type of character early on, or that was what he was going to be. In this episode he was living more a role of a Western movie, coming into town and saving the good guys from the bad guys. Maybe it was appropriate, to finally let Neelix shine in that way.

There really isn't much else to say about the core story of Neelix helping them, it was as I said aboveÖ pretty simple stuff. The crux of it all was of course Neelix and his departure. I think itís a shame he wanted to leave. Firstly, he is a valuable member of the crew. In fact he has accomplished more than many of the crewmembers have. Chakotay appropriately said he was "the most versatile member of our crew." And there was me thinking it was Harry.

But to me, he is the only symbol of them being in the Delta Quadrant. Look at the rest of the crew, and what have they got to show for being out there? Kes has gone, and now Neelix has gone too. To me that is a travesty, utterly wrong. I don't know how they show will end, so can't be sure what the fate of the ship is anyway. But if they do get home, what have they got to show for being out there? A few files maybe, but no real people or examples of the different cultures from the quadrant. Many people should have in fact joined the crew in this time, but I think Neelix leaving is just a step in ensuring the crew is racially pure before they get home. Heavens forbid we might have a real alien on board! With Voyager recently itís been "Earth this" and "Humans that" like it's the be all and end all of Star Trek. Remember writers, thereís more than one race on Voyager, and there should have been more than one Delta Quadrant race on board if the ship returns home.

I did laugh at Tuvok "hypothetically" suggesting ways for Neelix to defend the planet at one point. I could almost think he saw it as a way to get rid of Neelix and seized on it! Although it would have been cool if all the Talaxians came on board Voyager. Can you imagine Tuvok surrounded by 500 Talaxians? I doubt any would be more annoying than the kid in this episode.... whatís his name, Brats? Oh no, Brax.

This episode still seems a bit sudden though. Neelix has bonded with this crew for almost seven years after all. It followed up well on 'Fair Trade,' but they should have seeded some elements of Neelix starting to feel redundant again before this episode. Scenes like where Naomi no longer needs him could have been done an episode or two ago as setup. The other thing I took issue to, before I even saw the episode, was that Neelix has abandoned him own quest to reach the Alpha Quadrant. He really wanted to be an ambassador, and even dreamt of it in 'Bliss.' To me, abandoning that was very wrong. However, the writers did cover that element with Janeway's chat with Neelix towards the end. By him still acting as an ambassador in effect, heís sort of realizing that dream. It was also Janewayís way of letting Neelix go without him feeling like he's betraying the Voyager crew. It was a nice scene. It was subtle, nicely done, and well acted. It covered a lot of things in one go. A goodbye between Janeway and Neelix, releasing from his duties, still letting him achieve his goals, and letting him move on too. All nice and neat, and this time the neatness wasn't too neat-it was just right.

When it came to Neelix's time to leave the ship, it was nice to see the crew lined up to see him off. It was typically Voyager, not many familiar faces in the lineup. I recognized two straight off...one guy who's been hanging around for ages, and Ensign Brooks, played by Sue Henley, who I have the pleasure of knowing online (yeah, Iím name dropping). I think we should have seen more people we recognize though, people like Ensign Wildman. Where is she anyway?

I feel, overall, Neelix's exit scenes were very quick for a character that had been with us almost seven years. When Tuvok wanted to say his last words, I said "Live Long and Prosper" before he could, expecting the predictable. He did of course, but not without a little surprise first. A nice touch, that of Tuvok "dancing."

So overall, it was a nice episode. The story itself was simplistic, but as I said...it knocked down some of my pre-conceptions, and changed my mind a bit as I watched it. That in itself is a miracle. I still don't quite like the idea of Neelix leaving; he should have been there until the end. But as I donít know what the final episode contains, I'm still slightly undecided. What I am grateful for is a nice send off for Neelix. There were some nice character moments in this episode, and there should have been more of them throughout the series. Neelix's eventual departure was a bit rushed, and I definitely felt he needed goodbye scenes with more of the individual crewmembers. But in the last scene of the episode, he is happy. And thus, so am I.


This is the latest in a series of special guest reviews AntonyF is writing of Voyager's 'Final Chapter'. Check back here soon for his review of 'Renaissance Man,' the final Voyager episode before the series finale.

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AntonyF is a freelance writer and interviewer, who will be known to some for running Star Trek Central until recently. He recently set up a new website, B5LR.com, dedicated to Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers.