Eye of the Needle (****½)
I have always liked this episode. The hope keeps on building through the episode until finally everybody's dreams come true... then they are all slapped in the face by something nobody saw coming. Then they get one last punch in the gut when Tuvok reveals that the guy died before he transmitted the messages. This is the sort of episode I can get behind because I'm a miserable fucker.
There is also a B story about the Doctor and whether he should be treated as a machine or allowed to grow as a person, and it is always nice to have Robert Picardo on screen. There is a certain irony in the fact that he is only considered a person right at the time when everyone is planning to beam to the AQ leaving him behind as though he doesn't matter. The final scene kind of bugs me because he he claims to want a name, but in seven years he fails to come up with one.
The performances by all the cast are good and there is no Neelix, so its all good!
Yes, this one is great. When I watched that episode the first time, I knew that there would be a twist in the tale and when it finally came, it was actually brilliant. Not to mention when Tuvok tells about what happened to R'Mor and the messages from the crew. Now that's something which could have been followed up in some book, R'Mor's daughter and the messages.
The B story with The Doctor is also good. As we can see, kes is the one who starts treating The Doctor like a sentient being instead of just a program. She helps The Doctor to realize that he's more than a progar and is also the one who makes the crew members start treating The Doctor with more respect too which leads to The Doctor developing to a valued colleague among the senior staff.