But no. The Doctor’s idea is quickly brushed aside in favor of a multiplicity of technobabble and “real world” solutions. None of which work mind you, but the Doctor’s idea is never revisited again.
The episode at this point devolves into a lot – a whole lot – of walking down corridors. Seriously, even Doctor Who fans would say, “Man, that’s one hell of a lot of corridor walking.” And strange things happen.
I’m not talking about the plot, just weird stuff. Neelix backs away at one point and disappears for the rest of the episode with no explanation other than “tell you about it later” and Janeway has a heartwarming (?) moment with Harry that was veering into shipping territory. And a holographic bar maid hits on a holographic doctor (granted I’d actually like to see what the logistics are on such a thing, but weird nonetheless) and Janeway is reduced to a babbling idiot.
All of this leads into a “Leap of Faith” moment that, to be fair, even my own cynical self found quite nice. B’Lanna and Chakotay have a friendship moment, of course Harry and Tom pair off and Kes’ confession of missing Neelix is sweet. All the assembled crew stoically await what could be their last seconds with dignity and grace. Well, not Janeway, she’s babbling like a chicken but you get the point.
And then…nothing. It just ends. We find out it was just advanced aliens attempting to communicate and in response to this Voyager just flys away. No investigation or anything, just bye bye now and off we go.
I suppose we could say that this was an episode that attempted to subvert expectations and “twist” what we think a normal episode structure should be thus create an experimental version of the typical Star Trek narrative. We could say that, but I really don’t think that writers were gong there, so I won’t.
Still, it is full of charming character vignettes and tiny little moments that you can point to and say, well that’s different. And so far in season 2 anything different and remotely entertaining is a plus.