Voyager catches up to an out-of-control Maquis missile that the Caretaker sucked into the Delta Quadrant ahead of them, and now Torres must stop it before it destroys an inhabited planet. The Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch goes after the “Dreadnought.”
The heart of the episode, though, belongs jointly to Roxann Dawson and Kate Mulgrew. Janeway’s conversations with Kellan are excellent, putting a human face (well, sentient face, anyhow) on the threat to Rakosa. A bond quickly develops between the two, and we once again see that Janeway’s superpower is to develop a rapport with someone she’s just met in about half a second—we’ve seen it before with Telek R’Mor, with Labin, with Jetrel, with Amelia Earhart, with Caylem, and with Mabus. Throughout, Janeway makes sure that she’s dedicated to saving the lives of the Rakosans no matter what, which is what heroes are supposed to do. Credit to Dan Kern for making Kellan a real person whose fate the viewer becomes invested in.
And Dawson’s dual performance as Torres and the Dreadnought computer is simply amazing. What I particularly like is that the computer talks like a computer, repeating certain key phrases, and engaging in the circular logic of a machine. The exchanges between Torres and the computer are a much more clever version of all those original series episodes where Kirk managed to somehow talk a computer into putting up its little feet and go “urk!” The scenes in “Dreadnought” are written by people with a much better understanding of the binary nature of computers, and it’s fun to watch. I especially loved when both computers were competing with each other for dominance, both using the same key phrases to try to assert that dominance.