It's a funny coincident that I re-watched "Caretaker" recently as well.
I've been very unhappy with Star Trek for a while, mainly because I got tired of constant bickering at another forum outside the TrekBBS and also because of the decision to kill off Janeway in the Star Trek books, someyhing I've strongly disagree with and also have debated about on the TrekBBS TrekLit forum.
Hiwever, I decided to have my own "Voyager Relaunch" and start with "Caretaker" to see if Voyager felt like a lost cause or if the magic is still there.
I must admit that when I watch this episode, the magic is
still there! I still get the same feeling of excitement when I re-watch "Caretaker" that I got about 10-12 years ago when I watched it the first time. That moment when Kim says "we're on the other side of the galaxy" still give me goosebumps, "now the adventure really starts"!
"Caretaker" is a brilliant pilot episode. A good and exciting story overall, the main characters are introduced in a very nice way and there's a lot of interesting, exciting and even funny scenes as well. The first meeting between Tuvok and Neelix in the transporter room is hilarious.
I agree on the comments that the Delta Quadrant was interesting and I did also find the Kazon good villains as well.
I remember when I watched it the first time. I became a fan immediately and could hardly wait for the next episode. Voyager was also the first series where I took an immediate liking to ALL the main characters. OK, I did have some problems with The Doctor to start with, I thought the whole idea of a walking, talking, living and Doctor hologram was a bit over the top. But it took only three episodes (until "Time And Again") until he became a beloved favorite as well.
I remained an ardent Voyager fan for three seasons before things started to happen which did put me off the series. But I still consider myself a fan of the show, especially the first three seasons and I still have an affection for the main characters.
By the way, I decided to re-read the book "Caretaker" as well. The book is excellent too, with some details that we didn't see in the TV episode.
If I should rate the episode, I'll give it 5 points out of 5.