(written from a Production point of view)
|Basics, Part II||3x01||146||50032.7||1996-09-04|
|Future's End, Part II||3x09||151||50312.5||1996-11-13|
|The Q and the Grey||3x11||153||50384.2||1996-11-27|
|Before and After||3x21||163||Unknown||1997-04-09|
|Worst Case Scenario||3x25||167||50953.4||1997-05-14|
Season three began with the departure of the Kazon, and with them went a story arc pivotal to the progression of the previous two seasons. The Doctor undergoes perhaps the largest change of any of the principal characters in season three, when he gains freedom from Sickbay in "Future's End", by way of an autonomous mobile emitter.
However, the most important moment of the season, and arguably of the entire series, takes place within the (at first glance) innocuous episode "Fair Trade", when Voyager enters the Nekrit Expanse. Not only does this area of space mark the farthest extent of Neelix' knowledge, and the end of his usefulness as Voyager's guide to the Delta Quadrant, but the ship's entry into the expanse draws a line in the sand between what went before, and what was still to come.
Three episodes later, "Blood Fever" saw the introduction of the Borg to the series, the inclusion of which was to have serious and far-reaching ramifications for the franchise from this point onwards. "Blood Fever" also introduced the very real possibility of a romantic interest between Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres, a relationship of singular importance not only to the development of the two characters involved, but also to the other crucial evolutionary step taken by the series in season three - the crew of Voyager as family. It is towards the end of "Fair Trade" that Janeway, while disciplining Neelix, first mentions this notion of familial allegiance.
"I'm prepared to leave the ship, captain."
"Oh no, it's not that easy. You can't just run away from your responsibilities because you made a mistake. You're part of a family now, and you have obligations".
- - Neelix and Janeway
It is also around this mid-point in the season that other, more subtle changes were being made to the overall look and feel of the franchise. Stage lighting underwent significant changes, most notably in "Macrocosm" where for the first time, darkened or blacked out set pieces were used to add tension to scenes. Prior to this, Voyager's decks and corridors were always largely flood-lit except in times of emergency.
While attending a Sacramento, USA Convention in 2003 (uploaded onto YouTube), Kate Mulgrew commented that by early Season three, she felt as if she had successfully married the actress to the character, to the extent that the writers were able to "back-off."
"And when they finally allowed Mulgrew to inhabit Janeway, she took off. I'd say that was about the end of the second/beginning of the third season.. Every nuance that I could give to her, all those subtle endowments that were mine, that Mulgrew brought to Janeway. That's when you fall in love. I couldn't do it without her, and she couldn't do it without me". : - Kate Mulgrew
It would therefore appear that the writers and producers (and performers) had begun to find a direction, and with it came a developing continuity. The Borg, introduced in "Blood Fever" popped up again in "Unity", and throughout the remainder of the series. John de Lancie returned as Q in "The Q and the Grey" providing continuity back to the suicide of Quinn in the second season episode, "Death Wish". Also, the events of "Distant Origin" linked not only "Fair Trade", but also the season two finale "Basics, Part I". Writers also used events to tease the audience with what was to come in season four, namely "Before and After" and the "Year of Hell".
However, it could be argued that all the positive changes initiated from mid-season onwards largely pale into insignificance when compared with the season three finale, "Scorpion", which sees Voyager entering a war-torn Borg space. To many, it is the moment when Voyager came of age. Audience figures leaped through the roof, and within half a season the show would become virtually unrecognizable from its previous seasons. Certainly, once Voyager entered the Nekrit Expanse in "Fair Trade", and later traversed Borg space in "Scorpion", the franchise would never be the same again.
- This season was broadcast concurrent with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 5, and Star Trek: First Contact was released during its run.
- Four episodes that aired as part of this season were produced during the second season. These episodes were (in production order) "Sacred Ground", "False Profits", "Flashback", and "Basics, Part II".
- Each of the four episodes that were moved from the second season to this one refer, in their opening credits, to actress Roxann Dawson as "Roxann Biggs-Dawson", whereas the opening titles sequences in the rest of this season's installments refer to her without the "Biggs" part of her name; this change signifies the fact that, between the second and third seasons, Dawson was divorced from Casey Biggs (who portrayed the character of Damar in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine).
- Apparently, one story that Star Trek: Voyager's team of writer-producers planned to include in the season was discarded. During the hiatus between the second and third seasons, actor Robert Picardo said of the writers, "They [...] have a comic story in mind in which some alien computer hacker hijacks the holographic Doctor's program and actually steals him off the ship! He's held hostage with a zany alien family, which should be fun." (Star Trek Monthly issue 20) Although this plot – in its entirety – was not included in the season, elements from the story do appear, such as The Doctor being kidnapped by a hacker ("Future's End" and "Future's End, Part II") and interacting with an unusual family ("Real Life"), so it is another possibility (besides outright abandonment) that the aforementioned storyline was an early version of an episode that was produced.
- Characters which 'crossover' from other incarnations of Star Trek: Hikaru Sulu, Janice Rand, Kang, Dmitri Valtane & Lojur in "Flashback" and Arridor & Kol in "False Profits".
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VOY Season 2
| Seasons of|
Star Trek: Voyager
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VOY Season 4