Jennifer Lien’s “Emotionаl” Finаl Voyаɡer Episode аs Kes Remembered By Stаr Trek Aсtors

Robert Duncan McNeill & Garrett Wang remember filming Jennifer Lien’s final Star Trek episode as Kes as an emotional experience for Voyager’s cast.

Kes Voyager Blue


  • “The Gift” was a challenging episode for the cast, as it marked Jennifer Lien’s departure from Star Trek: Voyager.
  • Scenes between Lien and her co-stars reflected the emotional reality of her last episode.
  • The most emotional scene was the farewell between Lien’s character Kes and Captain Janeway, with real emotions of saying goodbye to Lien shining through.

Star Trek: Voyager actors Robert Duncan McNeill (Lt. Tom Paris) and Garrett Wang (Ensign Harry Kim) remember filming Jennifer Lien’s final episode as Kes. Voyager season 4, episode 2, “The Gift” was an especially difficult episode for cast members who had grown close to Lien during her time on the show. McNeill suggests that scenes between Lien and her co-stars seem to reflect “the reality of Jennifer Lien’s last episode”, with Wang agreeing that fellow Voyager actors were affected by the impending departure of both Lien and Kes, particularly those who often shared screen time with Lien.

Reflecting upon Lien’s exit on The Delta Flyers podcast, McNeill posits that Jennifer Lien’s departure from Star Trek: Voyager affected Robert Picardo’s performance to imbue the Doctor with more humanity, and credits Ethan Phillips with “authentic” acting as Neelix that “was working on multiple levels” in both actors’ final scenes with Lien. However, the most emotional scene in “The Gift” is the one Jennifer Lien shares with Kate Mulgrew, as Captain Kathryn Janeway bids an emotional farewell to Kes. Read their quotes and listen to The Delta Flyers episode below:

Garrett Wang: “Kes tells Janeway that this is her time to leave, and all those lines? Forget about those lines. All the lines that were said in this scene were basically Kate Mulgrew telling Jennifer Lien, ‘I’m gonna miss you. I can’t believe production has let you go,’ basically, is what this entire scene was. This was the emotional one for me. This is the one where I started getting emotional just watching this, just knowing, you know, that this was–“

Robert Duncan McNeill: “Well, Kate was very emotional, and you could see Jennifer was very emotional.”

Garrett Wang: “[For] both of them … This had nothing to do with actual Kes or Janeway.”

Robert Duncan McNeill: “They were saying words about these characters, but their feelings and intentions when this scene was filmed were all about saying goodbye to Jennifer.”

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Jennifer Lien Had an Emotional Impact on Voyager’s Cast

Reasons for Lien’s Departure Are Still Unknown

While Jennifer Lien’s time on Star Trek: Voyager was brief, Lien still had an emotional impact on Voyager‘s cast and crew. Robert Duncan McNeill asserts on The Delta Flyers that “it was very hard to see Jennifer leave,” as he somberly looks back on Lien’s final episode. Kes’ inherent kindness welcomed the USS Voyager to the Delta Quadrant with open arms and gave Voyager a beating heart, but her potential as an emotionally-aware character was never truly explored by Voyager‘s writers. Nonetheless, Voyager’s crew loved Kes, and Voyager‘s cast loved Lien just as much, which made it difficult to address the reasons behind Lien leaving.

While Jennifer Lien returns for one episode of Star Trek: Voyager in season 6, episode 23 “Fury”, “The Gift” marks Lien’s last episode as a regular cast member.

McNeill and Wang don’t offer any explanations for Lien leaving Star Trek: Voyager on The Delta Flyers. The possibility that Lien left Voyager for mental health-related reasons came to light after The Delta Flyers recorded their episode about “The Gift,” but that explanation remains just a possibility, and the real reason for Lien leaving Voyager remains unknown. Instead, Garrett Wang and Robert Duncan McNeill rightly and respectfully focus their podcast discussion on their own Star Trek: Voyager memories, and the heavy emotions associated with saying goodbye to both Kes and Jennifer Lien.

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