In Eye of the Needle, the USS Voyager continues on its way home when the good Harry Kim discovers the unmistakable signs of the existence of a nearby wormhole – a space-time tunnel that could significantly shorten the journey to the Alpha quadrant. Everyone on the bridge is hopeful, but when they get close to it they discover that it is extremely tiny, with an opening of a few centimeters, and therefore it would be impossible for the ship to pass through it: too bad, Janeway would have loved to enter into something else (this would have been the fourth time entering something after this, this and this!). And in any case there is only a 25% chance that it leads to the quadrant of origin of our heroes: I wonder how they calculated this probability with such precision (unless it’s just due to the existence of four quadrants…)!
In any case, sending a probe inside the tunnel leads to a surprising discovery: not only does the wormhole actually lead to the Alpha quadrant, but there’s someone on the other side! As soon as the communication systems are fixed, it turns out that he is a Romulan scientist (Telek, played by Vaughn Armstrong), not exactly the friendliest of interlocutors, but after all it’s already a miracle that there’s someone there! And here the episode develops three subplots: one is predictable (spoiler alert: our heroes don’t return home at the end of the seventh episode of the first season) and full of technobabble with B’Elanna Torres on the lead.
The second and more interesting story has the crew members questioning themselves about their situation, forming hopes and seeing them crushed before their eyes. Above all, Janeway must earn the confidence of the suspicious Romulan scientist with long, really well-written dialogues. Sadly, Kate Mulgrew is not exactly the best actress for this kind of acting (or any kind of acting, or anything bringing out emotions), but she’s the captain…
And then the third and final subplot turns out to be the best of the lot: Kes realizes that the crew members treat the Doctor very badly, ignoring him or responding very hastily. She is amazed, since she sees the Doctor as a living being in all respects, also capable of learning and growing (metaphorically)! In truth, this is so similar to the discussion about Data’s status in The Measure of a Man (ninth episode of the second season of The Next Generation) that it’s almost redundant, but it’s still nice to see that the two characters that I like the most (Kes and the Doctor) continue to be developed in an interesting way in almost every episode. Moreover, Robert Picardo automatically increases the quality of each scene he’s in!
In short, there are some really well written dialogues in this episode. I also like how the show is slowly building a family atmosphere on the vessel: it’s a small community of a hundred people or so, so it’s normal to see some small village dynamics form in which there are no secrets and gossip spreads quickly. And, as for the resolution of the main story, the final twist is somewhat depressing and makes the story memorable. What a nice episode! Ciao!
PS: Here’s my usual shoutout to the podcast The Delta Flyers: Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wong in this case strive to find a message in Eye of the Needle. In this case, both co-hosts thought that there was a positive message about wanting to do everything for the family that is, the loved ones, with Janeway doing all she could to try to convince Telek to help her. I guess it makes sense!
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