Star Trek: Voyager may have created the saddest episode in franchise history.
Few shows have the range and creativity of that of Star Trek. Not just a specific Star Trek, but before the series became more serialized in the late 2010s, the serial episodic nature of the series allowed for unique and creative takes on a variety of genres and topics. Yes, even those heart-breaking, tear-jerking, emotional kinds. Yet, no Star Trek show has done it as well as Star Trek: Voyager.
Voyager’s 18th episode of season five is called Course Oblivion and it may be the single-handidly saddest episode in all of Star Trek. In it, we see the crew of the U.S.S. Voyager is doing their usual thing. Science stuff, mainly. Oh, and Harry Kim getting no action. The constants of the universe, never waver.
The crew starts to get ill throughout the episode, with B’Elanna Torres becoming violently ill, before dying and turning into goo. Then the revelation, this isn’t “OUR” Voyager crew. No, these are actually sentient biomasses from an earlier series episode, “Demon”.
In “Demon” the crew agree to give up some of their blood to a “demon” planet that’s holding them, hostage, so that it may have sentience and populate the planet. Well, apparently, that crew got sick of being on a nothing-planet and builds their own Voyager, somehow, and takes off into space.
As “Demon” happened near the tail end of season four, and now we’re into season five, no one knew that storyline would ever be resolved, but it was, and boy, was it.
Star Trek: Voyager’s Course Oblivion is among the saddest endings ever
Despite the fact these demon-clones of Voyager are in fact not the real crew, they are still so much like the ones we’ve been watching for over five years. So you connect with them. The crew starts dying off, however, one by one, leading to just The Doctor, Kathryne Janeway, Seven of Nine, Neelix, and Kim
The Doctor is still a hologram but as the ship, itself made of the same substance as the crew, starts to degrade, the Doctor goes offline. Neelix becomes the head medical officer and Janeway has the crew create a time capsule so that in the event of their death, that people know they existed. That they traveled and lived.
That they would continue on in some form even if their ship and crew haven’t.
Hope arrives, however, in the real Voyager. The real Voyager caught a distress beacon from the Demon-Voyager and turned around to try and aid them, not knowing who or what they were even responding to.
The other Voyager launches the time capsule but it fails and gets destroyed after launch, and when all hope seems lost, the Demon crew finds out that Voyager is near. They come out of warp and…they break apart into a trillion little particles right as the real Voyager arrives.
The Demon Voyager crew is nowhere to be seen, their ship, their bodies, and their lives are all gone. And the worst part is that no one, not even the real Voyager crew, will ever have known they existed. They lived and died without anyone noticing.
An existence lost to time, and no one to mourn.
How is that not the saddest ending to anything?