Stаr Trek: Voyаɡer Copied A Clаssiс DS9 Episode (Bаdly)

A season 1 episode of Star Trek: Voyage copied a classic installment from Deep Space Nine, but Voyager failed to recreate the storyline effectively.

A collage of Avery Brooks as Captain Benjamin Sisko from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with the cast of Star Trek: Voyager in the background.


  • Star Trek: Voyager’s “Jetrel” failed to recreate the compelling storyline of “Duet” from Deep Space Nine, focusing too much on exposition and lacking dramatic action.
  • Unlike “Duet,” which delved deep into Kira’s established history, “Jetrel” was only able to scratch the surface of Neelix’s traumatic past.
  • Voyager made up for the lackluster portrayal of Neelix’s backstory in “Jetrel” with the well-executed exploration of his character in “Mortal Coil” in season 4.

Star Trek: Voyager season 1 copied a popular Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, but failed badly in recreating what made the storyline compelling. Voyager season 1, episode 15, “Jetrel” was a reimagined version of Deep Space Nine season 1, episode 19, “Duet.” The Voyager episode featured Neelix (Ethan Phillips) being forced to confront his past when Dr. Ma’Bor Jetrel (James Sloyan), a Haakonian scientist who had created the weapon that destroyed Neelix’s homeworld, contacted the USS Voyager claiming Neelix was dying of a deadly disease that only he could cure.

Similarly to “Jetrel”, DS9‘s “Duet” focused on Major Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) as she attempted to determine whether Aamin Marritza (Harris Yulin) a Cardassian she had taken into custody, was, in fact, a brutal war criminal from the Cardassian occupation of her planet, Bajor. On the surface, “Jetrel” and “Duet” have a lot in common. Both stories focused on a character confronting the past in the form of someone closely associated with their trauma, and both episodes dealt with the issue of punishment versus forgiveness for previous crimes. Interestingly, “Jetrel” and “Duet” were also both the second to last episodes of season 1 for their respective shows.

Voyager’s “Jetrel” Is Not As Good As DS9’s “Duet”

Nana Visitor as Kira and Harris Yullin as Marritza walk side by side in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 1, episode 19,

However, despite all of their similarities, “Jetrel” failed where “Duet” had succeeded, with Voyager delivering a noticeably subpar episode compared to Deep Space Nine. The main issue was how each episode incorporated its respective main character’s backstory. Kira’s history with the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor was a well-established part of her character right from her introduction and informed a lot of her traits and choices throughout the show. In contrast, the first time audiences learned anything about Neelix’s traumatic past was during “Jetrel.” Up until the episode, Neelix had been Voyager‘s comedic relief; the show had never dropped any hints regarding the darker aspects of his backstory.

As a result, “Jetrel” was heavily focused on exposition about Neelix’s past and his people’s war with the Haakonians. This resulted in a rushed, dialogue-heavy episode without much dramatic action that left audiences with too much information to absorb. DS9 did not have the same problem with “Duet,” since not only was Kira’s history with Cardassian already established, but the Cardassian-Bajoran conflict was a well-known issue within the Star Trek universe the viewers had been exposed to multiple times. This meant that “Duet” could go much deeper in its exploration of Kira while “Jetrel” was only able to scratch the surface with Neelix.

How Voyager Made Up For “Jetrel” In Season 4

Ethan Phillips as Neelix and Kate Mulgrew as Janeway have a discussion in Star Trek: Voyager season 4, episode 12,

Despite doing a bad job of introducing Neelix’s backstory in “Jetrel,” Voyager made up for it with season 4, episode 12, “Mortal Coil.” The episode saw Neelix briefly killed in a shuttle accident before being brought back to life by the Doctor (Robert Picardo). Although Neelix was initially grateful to have been resurrected, he soon began to struggle with the fact that he had no memory of experiencing an afterlife, something Talaxians had a deep belief in. Given that the thought of seeing his family again had brought Neelix immense comfort, the revelation that there was nothing waiting for him after death sent him into a tailspin.

Unlike “Jetrel,” “Mortal Coil” is a well-executed exploration of Neelix’s character, incorporating his backstory to much greater effect. The struggle Neelix went through during the episode was much more interesting than anything he experienced in “Jetrel,” and his interactions with his fellow crew were more poignant and ultimately more rewarding to see play out on screen than the verbal sparring Neelix engaged in with Jetrel in season 1. Although the introduction of Neelix’s history was done badly in “Jetrel,” Star Trek: Voyager ultimately fixed the mistake later on.

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