I don't see how that would have added to the episodes on this season, really; what would have been the additional value of doing such a thing.
Two reasons; 1) the introduction of the Dominion was made more interesting because of how it was foreshadowed in several episodes and 2) it would have made the DQ feel more alive. I found the big bad Delta Quadrant rather dull in season 5.
Equinox, Part 2 (***½)
There is a famous scene in this episode where Janeway almost kills a guy in her search for vengeance, and I've seen that used many times as an attack on the show. Some don't think that Janeway's actions are justifiable, and some don't think Janeway would ever go so far to the dark side. Personally, I've never viewed her as a particularly stable person and it's not much of a stretch of my imagination to see her doing what she does here. As to whether it is justified, of course not, that's the point.
In contrast, I also enjoyed Ransom's return to the light side, some of the imagery involved was interesting. However, I'm a bit of a Ron Moore fan (more on that with the next episode) and I have to agree with him when he says that this episode fails to come together as a whole. The concept of Janeway turning bad while Ransom turns good is great, but it never goes anywhere at the end. It provided many great scenes but it doesn't seem to add up to much.
This exchange is galling:
JANEWAY: Chakotay. You know, you may have had good reason to stage a little mutiny of your own.
CHAKOTAY: The thought had occurred to me, but that would have been crossing the line.
Firstly, no it would not. Janeway was the one crossing the line, not you, you would have been the one trying to pull her back over the line. Secondly, CHAKOTAY RESIGNED HIS COMMISSION TO JOIN A TERRORIST ORGANISATION!!!
This is a man who should have no problem challenging Janeway's authority when she does something wrong. What the hell happened to the Chakotay who defied Janeway's orders and stole a shuttle in order to deal with Seska back in season 2? Seriously, the guy serves no purpose on this show anymore other than being humiliated, just kill him off or something.
Part of me is upset that the Equinox was destroyed even though that obviously had to happen because this is Voyager, but the Nova class is a cool design and I would have loved to see more of it. But at least we get five new crew members on Voyager, we should get a few good stories from that, right?
Yeah, I have to deduct a point for that.