I don't see those things as contrived. Is it really hard to believe that with all the Trek gadgets we've seen that there isn't a device that could alter memories and identities. It was necessary for the story andpersonally I was fine with it.
This is going to be hard for me to describe, and it's not going to help that I'm currently drunk (I really need to stop posting at 4:30am on Saturday nights), but this episode feels to me like a house of cards which physically exists, but which is impossible to construct.
I told you it wouldn't make sense.
The idea that the Hirogen capture Voyager, find out about holodeck technology, decide to use it for hunting, decide to involve the Voyager crew, they have the technology which makes the crew think they are holodeck characters, the holodecks themselves are expanded to be massive structures... it doesn't feel natural. If the episode had tried to tell this story from the beginning then I don't think Braga and Menosky would have been able to do it, so they jumped ahead to the end of the story and started from there.
They did originally air them both together, you know.
I remember being on holiday when these episodes aired so I got a friend to record them and I watched them both at his house when I got back. I remembered liking them at the time, but I was twelve and going through my WWII fascination stage.
How can anyone say season 2 is better than season 3?
It's not too hard, you just have to put the words in the correct order, like this:
Season 2 is better than season 3.
It takes some practice, but if you keep at it you'll get there eventually.