Captain Janeway was promoted to admiral shortly after Star Trek: Voyager ended.
In a recent post, Gizmodo writer James Whitbrook discussed the first season episode of Star Trek: Voyager, “Prime Factors,” giving the opinion that it didn’t live up to its potential. Both B’Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson) and Tuvok (Tim Russ) disappoint Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) by going behind her back to obtain trajector technology which was supposed to be able to help Voyager get home. Of course it didn’t work, and it almost cost everyone their lives. Understandably, Janeway was upset, and she gave B’Ellana a dressing down, but she was shocked and hurt when Tuvok admitted to being the senior officer behind the plan.
Whitbrook writes that there are no consequences to the damage done to Tuvok and Janeway’s friendship.
"“The damage to Tuvok and Janeway’s friendship is immediately dropped. As heartbreaking as it is to see in the moment—anchored in a brilliant performance by Kate Mulgrew and Tim Russ, one achingly emotional and the other constrained by Vulcan logic—their conversation has no consequence, logistically or emotionally.”"
This leads one commentor to bring up one interpretation of Janeway’s actions in later seasons.
"“I love the interpretation that some of her actions in the later seasons were deliberate death-seeker type stuff, just… wanting it all to end. That the reason she was promoted to Admiral after the series was because she was just too broken by the Delta Quadrant to still be an effective Captain, having to spend every day with the officers she might have to send to their deaths.”"
But how close to the mark was this explanation?
Voyager proved how effective Captain Janeway was as a leader
Starfleet captains endure a lot of tragedy and triumph in the years at the helm. Captain Kirk lost his best friend (though Spock was later resurrected), the love of his life, which many would say was Edith Wheeler, and his son. He gave his all to being captain of the Enterprise.
Captain Picard endured his own fair share of tragedies with the loss of crew members, his inability to maintain a loving relationship because he couldn’t send the woman he loved into danger, and torture beyond anything we could imagine.
The list goes on as every captain faced difficulties, but it was their strength of will that helped them power through.Captain Janeway was certainly no different. She confronted challenges head-on and made the best decisions she could based on the information she had at hand. Yes, there were times when she faltered, but I contend that she never broke. She earned her pips to become a captain, and once she and the crew of the Voyager had safely returned Federation space, it’s not surprising that she was promoted.
With the exception of Captain Sisko, all of the captains in the earlier Star Trek series were promoted to admiral after their tenure aboard the ships came to an end. It’s a logical progression. Personally, I maintain that Janeway was one of the best captains in Starfleet, and promoting her to admiral was Starfleet’s way of making the most use of her abilities and strengths. And in Star Trek: Prodigy, Admiral Janeway is once again helming a ship, the USS Dauntless, on a hunt for Commander Chakotay. Most likely, she’ll have to put some of her crew in danger, but that comes with the job. And Janeway has always handled that job beautifully.
What do you think? Was Janeway promoted because she couldn’t be an effective captain any longer?