Date: December 31, 2020
Season 5, Episode 22
Interstellar News: This was not the way I intended to ring in the new year, but it’s a fitting one as the flashback events in this episode happen on the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, 2000. I’m only 20 years behind.
TL;DR: Neelix and Paris have been working through Earth’s history and Janeway remarks about one of her ancestors, Shannon O’Donnel, who worked on the Millennium Gate and was the reason she became a starship captain. Janeway’s aunt always told the story that Shannon was one of the first female astronauts, was flown in on a private jet, was the main reason why the Gate was built, and was a big reason projects on Mars started.
Flashbacks to December 2000 show that Shannon was an astronaut school washout, dropped from her engineering job, and stuck in town when her car breaks down. She meets Henry Janeway and his son, who are the lone holdouts for the building of the gate and what he thinks is the destruction of the town. She tells him she’ll help him spread the word, but is eventually approached by the folks who want to build the gate… they’ll give her a job if she convinces Henry to sell his shop. They get into a fight and she leaves town, but she decides to turn around and offers to stay if he’ll sell and reopen his shop within the gate… to which he agrees. They tell everyone at 11:59 pm, just before the deadline to move to another town.
Back on Voyager Kim tells the crew about one of his ancestors, the EMH is likely related to Deep Blue, and Paris admits he doesn’t recognize anyone of Shannon’s name on the Mars projects. Janeway realizes that her family history was embellished a little but Neelix invents Ancestor’s Eve to honor the crew’s family histories and they take a group picture.
Henry: I suppose I could re-open my shop in that monstrosity you want to build.
Shannon: Well, I’ll have a few connections. I could probably get you a nice remote location, so nobody would bother you.
Henry: Not much profit in that. You sure you won’t drive away again?
Shannon: No, But if I do, we’ll make the trip together.Ah, romance.
“My guidebook tells me I’m not too far from Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper, recreated entirely in corn.”: I love parts of this because it’s very much like “Living Witness” where we have one account of history as told by those in the future, but when we look at the record from the actual past it tells a slightly different story. Here, instead, the Janeway family embellishes Shannon’s life… but they aren’t as far off as the Kryians were. I love that Shannon was a free spirit, a female engineer with aspirations in the clouds (literally), and was an early adopter of technology. I also love that Henry loved his books and saw adventure in a different way, why travel when you have books? As both a lover of books and a lover of travel, I see parts of myself in both of these characters. They both make good points and, in the end, decide they are better together than apart. It’s a cute, little love story that works in its weird way. That’s how people fell in love back in the day, right? Someone got stuck in town and they fell in love with the person that helped them, it’s something we likely all have a version of in our own family histories. Writing this in December 2020, with nothing like a Millenium Gate anywhere in sight, I’m saddened but hopeful. Maybe next year will be better. 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1…
Wishing you all a merry, happy, joyous, and Covid-free 2021. Thank you so much for joining me this year and I hope you continue to follow me next year.