MELD - 2x16 - 5/5
This is definitely one of Voyager's all-time stand out episodes and just a terrific piece of Trek in it's own right. This is a very dark and superbly acted episode that explores some pretty hard issues like capital punishment and the inner-psyche of a homicidal psychopath. If Voyager isn't going to have long plot arcs like DS9, they very least it could do is pump out more of these sort of standalone episodes that explore human nature in great detail and intensity.
Brad Dourif is an amazing actor. I mostly know him from his later role as the doctor on Deadwood
- who quickly became my favourite character. His portrayal of Lon Suder is believably gripping and getting to see him play off Tim Russ who finally gets to show his acting range in this episode is a total joy. It's even more interesting that Suder was made a Betazoid. They are a race typically known for their telepathy and emotional empathy, so making him a Betazoid who is completely emotionally detached and dysfunctional adds to the character enormously.
Even the minor B story about the crew setting up an illegal betting pool on the holodeck is cool and the rising tensions between Chak and Paris is interesting in itself.
There's not much else I have to say about this episode, but safe to say I've seen it many times and it's emotional impact is still as intense as when I first saw it. The final scene between Suder and Tuvok gives me goosebumps every time and I believe that is a true mark of a quality piece of acting and storytelling.
I have no qualms giving this episode 5 stars.