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martok2112 07-23-2013 09:53 PM

Captain Kathryn Janeway...why she is probably my favorite StarFleet Captain
Simply put, Kathryn Janeway is heart and soul of Voyager....and perhaps even of Star Trek itself.

Scientist, explorer, diplomat, pragmatist. She always flexed her intellectual muscles at every opportunity. She would assist science officers and scientific endeavors frequently, giving her a rather hands-on approach to many missions and conundrums. Janeway had an almost insatiable curiosity in the finest traditions of Federation explorers.

And ONLY Captain Kathryn Janeway could combine a StarFleet and Maquis crew, forge alliances with The Borg, have easy going relations with Q, assuage the fears of Species 8472 (In The Flesh is one of my favorite Voyager episodes), liberate a Borg drone and make her a valuable member of the crew, and, of course, get her crew home from a potentially decades long journey from the Delta Quadrant back to the Alpha Quadrant.

Kate Mulgrew portrayed Janeway with such subtlety and restraint of emotions that would've overwhelmed a lesser character. One of my alltime favorite scenes in Voyager (and again, in the whole of Star Trek) is the scene where she confronts Tuvok after he led a disobient mission to acquire technology that could allow Voyager to get home much sooner than plain old warp drive would allow. In that scene, you could see that Kathryn was just on the cusp of crying, she was so distraught at Tuvok's disobedience. Mulgrew played it right to the cuff, and basically let the audience feel the emotion that Janeway so wanted to express.

I loved how she actually managed to get along with Q. A couple of episodes ended with Janeway and Q sharing a laugh of sorts. When Q presented his baby to Janeway, and showed his nurturing side, and the look of approval and the smile on Janeway's face....sublime.

Janeway bore pressures upon her that would've emotionally and perhaps mentally crushed a less resolute being. It is one thing for the captain of a starship to of course be concerned for the welfare and safety of his/her crew....but Janeway had to bear that responsibility a hundred fold, for they were tens of thousands of light years from home....decades away at the best warp speeds Voyager could manage. If she lost a crew member out in the Delta Quadrant, there were no StarFleet facilities from which to recruit new personnel.

The growing friendship between Janeway and Chakotay was vital to her effectiveness as a starship commander. With the wisdom of Tuvok at one side, and the sensitivities and sensibilities of Chakotay on the other, there was little that Janeway could not accomplish.

Janeway had this knack of being able to make a crewmember regret a bad move without having to resort to emphatic dressing down. Her disappointment alone was often enough to sway a wayward crewman back to straightening up and flying right.

She still tried to live up to the spirit and dictates of The Prime Directive, even though they were far from StarFleet Command and The Federation. Ultimately, the decisions to violate the PD were difficult, but once she committed to a course of action, she saw it through unless a better solution presented itself.

Kathryn Janeway, to me, represents the finest of StarFleet's officer corps, and among the finest of humanity. :)

NCC-73515 07-25-2013 12:48 PM

The one who had Tuvix executed and tortured Noah Lessing?

martok2112 07-26-2013 02:03 PM

Noah Lessing I'm trying to remember. Must've been an ep I haven't seen yet...thanks for the spoiler.

Ah, Tuvix. Yes, that could not have been an easy decision for Janeway. She made the tough calls, and has to live with them. And being alone in the Delta Quadrant, yeah, I'd dare she had to make the toughest calls of any StarFleet Captain.

Captain Tom Coughlin 07-26-2013 02:51 PM

I don't think there is a clear cut morally correct decision to make in the Tuvix case. What of her responsibility to Tuvok and Neelix?

horatio 07-28-2013 12:03 AM

I think that both NCC and Tom are right. Janeway did kill Tuvix and of course murder is normally wrong ... but being all alone in the Delta Quadrant and in dire need of two crewmembers is anything but normal.

What I liked about the episodes is that it did not pretend that there is an easy or natural solution.
Sometimes folks who discuss it go down that road (in order to rationalize for whom they are siding) and claim e.g. that Tuvix is a freak, a kind of involuntary and innocent vampire who sucked two people into him and cannot be allowed to live on as he would be a constant reminder of the people he swallowed up. But it is not his fault, there was no agency involved, it was just an accident.
The other argument would be something like murder is always wrong, Tuvix is an intelligent lifeform and his rights may not be violated and so on. But what about the rights of the people who died when he was born and who can be resurrected when he dies?
Neither Tuvix' birth nor Tuxok's and Neelix death are natural. Of course they constitute an accident that happened in nature, it was some kind biological symbiosis with the flower or whatever, but this accident is not natural in the sense of normal or not supposed to be potentially interfered with.

I like stories in which people have to make radically contingent decisions, i.e. cannot rely on anything. There is no floor underneath Janeway, she is out there all on her own and whatever she does will be her act and her guilt until the end of her days.

NCC-73515 07-28-2013 02:21 PM

Her actions in Equinox (this spoiler came 14 years after the episode aired, can't be sorry for that XD) were inexcusable.

horatio 07-29-2013 08:18 AM

She was a bit too zealous in Equinox but then again she often wavered between being a caring mother figure and a Rambo captain.
It did not work ... but then again we have to keep in mind that a paradigmatic captain like Picard would not have worked for a ship that is stranded in the Delta Quadrant either.

Back to Equinox, I do not really have a problem with a Starfleet officer who is willing to get her hands dirty to deal with fellow officers who broke some basic rules (not to mention that it is always refreshing to see somebody, even if it is just a fictional character, who has the cojones to fu*k the corps spirit and go after wrongdoers in her own organization).
Principles matter and Janeway is well aware that without dogmatism (and a harsh implementation of this dogmatism) her crew could very well go down the Equinox road.

Don't get me wrong, I am sympathetic to your standard liberal human rights perspective. But I think one of its naive implicit assumptions is that people are normally decent so all you gotta do is forbid them from doing bad things and punishing them mildly when they do it.
This might be indeed so when you are well off but we are not in Kansas anymore, the VOY is far away from home, short on resources and constantly meeting not-so-friendly folks. When you are in deep sh*t your ethics will be questioned sooner or later and you can either deal with that cynically, pragmatically or dogmatically. I am for dogmatism whereas you are for pragmatism (and I hope nobody is a cynic).

You can also read this through the Exodus story. God doesn't provide 10 rules and the Israelites say "OK, this makes sense, let's do it". No, they do at first not like these rules and have to be forced to follow them.

Captain Tom Coughlin 07-29-2013 09:16 AM

To Horatio's point about human nature, I think Quark shows he has some insight into humans


"Let me tell you something about Hew-mons, nephew. They're a wonderful, friendly people – as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts... deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers... put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time... and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people will become as nasty and violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon. You don't believe me? Look at those faces, look at their eyes..."

martok2112 07-29-2013 03:21 PM


Originally Posted by NCC-73515 (Post 329401)
Her actions in Equinox (this spoiler came 14 years after the episode aired, can't be sorry for that XD) were inexcusable.

Haven't reached that far yet. Equinox is a season 5 finale, season six opener, and I'm only halfway through season five, so, yep, you can be pretty sorry.

Then again, there might be folks here who haven't even watched a single ep of Voyager, so my write up on Janeway is full of for that, we both can be sorry. :)

LCARS 24 07-29-2013 04:11 PM

In the case of Tuvix, to me the moral decision would have been to let Tuvix decide his own fate once the option became available. Janeway should have honored his decision, and Tuvix should have been on board for one or two more episodes, with Tuvok and Neelix giving him advice or even tormenting him (perhaps shown as little versions of themselves levitating near his head and talking into his ears (as with Archer in In a Mirror, Darkly before having Mayweather shoot the admiral. And the next time Tuvix beamed down to a planet on an away mission, he would (surprise, surprise) mysteriously materialize as Tuvok and Neelix. Keeping Tuvix as a regular was out of the question, since Tuvok and Neelix would still have to be showing talking in his head from time to time, ending up costing the studio more money in the long run.

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