We start with Janeway blogging about finding a ship in a debris field. The ship contains Neelix. Neelix contains knowledge about the dude who abducted them. The Okampa call him the Caretaker, and he has been beaming in random ships and stealing their crew members thousands…maybe hundreds…well, no, maybe like fifty times in the last few months. Neelix is willing to help Janeway if she’ll pay him with…water. He drives a hard bargain, that Neelix.
Meanwhile, B’Elanna wakes up in the Mayo Clinic and starts fighting with Harry, whom she calls “Starfleet.” They are interrupted by an Okampa, who takes them out for a look around the city. He tells them that the Caretaker has been…well, taking care of them in their subterranean society for hundreds of generations. He also tells them, “BTW, you’re probably going to die from this disease. That’s why the Caretaker sent you here.” So that’s good to know.
After a smorgasboard and a bubble bath, Neelix takes Janeway & Co. to the surface of the Okampa planet to rescue Harry and B’Elanna. First they have to sweet-talk some other aliens, the Kazon, with more water. After seeing the containers of water Janeway beams down from the ship, the Kazon chief practically wants to have her babies. I guess you could say he was floored by Janeway’s jugs. (I’m sorry. I had to).
Anyway, while they’re there Neelix tries to bargain for an Okampa slave girl. When the Kazon are not having it, Neelix pulls out his phaser and shit gets tense for a minute before Voyager beams everybody back. Neelix reveals that the Okampa is actually his girlfriend, Kes, and that she escaped from the Okampa underworld through a secret tunnel that probably doesn’t exist anymore. Around then the Doctor gets uppity to Janeway so she turns him off. Kes offers to take them back to her planet to try to get their missing crew members back.
Harry and B’Elanna are busy trying to find a secret tunnel of their own. And no, that is not a euphemism. But Harry is holding them back because he’s whining about he trained for Starfleet his whole life and now he’s going to die on his very first mission.
Kes leads the Voyager crew to the Central Clinic when everybody notices that the energy pulses from the Caretaker’s array are getting faster.
Then the array starts firing a weapon to seal the energy conduits (whatever that means) and Tuvok decides this means that the Caretaker is getting ready to croak. Things start getting crazy. Voyager can’t beam out the away team. Tom and Neelix find Harry and B’Elanna and everybody starts racing towards the breach in the security barrier.
Tom, Neelix, Kes, Harry, and B’Elanna make it to the surface. Tom and Neelix go back to help Janeway, Tuvok, and Chakotay, who now has a broken leg. Tom saves his life. Yada yada. This is actually super boring for an action sequence. Just a dude carrying another dude.
Back on the ship everybody’s fine and the mysterious disease that was going to kill Harry and B’Elanna has magically gone away. But the Kazon don’t want to let Voyager leave because they can’t stand the thought of losing Janeway and her precious jugs…of water.
Janeway goes to talk to the Caretaker again. He reveals to her that his species was toying around with their technology and did the equivalent of sending a baseball through the club house window to the Okampa planet. He’s been pulling ships and stealing people because he’s trying to find a mate, who can give him a kid, who can keep caring for the Okampa after he dies.
The Kazon start attacking Voyager. They seem pretty advanced for a civilization that doesn’t know how to make liquid. Chakotay drives his ship into the Kazon ship to save the day. The Caretaker tells Janeway he’s already in self-destruct mode. He tells Janeway she must not let the Kazon get control of the array. Then he dies. It’s undramatic.
Janeway realizes that if she uses the array to get Voyager back home, she’ll be dooming an entire race. So she blows it up, thus dooming her ship and crew to a 75+year trip back home. But it’s all good because Chakotay is first officer and Tom is the pilot and Neelix and Kes are tagging along. There are seven seasons of fun ahead, you guys. Are you excited yet?
Ridiculous Line Award: “On the other hand, if I save your butt, your life belongs to me. Isn’t that some sort of Indian custom?”
Body Count: 1. The Caretaker.