Coda: This was a very moving episode. In particular, I found the memorial scene to be very emotional and powerful. The beginning of the episode was also full of twists and turns and lots of excitement. The outcome of this episode wasn't as predictable as the outcome in Resolutions, so on the whole I don't really have any complaints about this episode.
This is an episode you might need to watch again to realize how horrible and pointless it actually is, as it might be easy to be distracted by all the bells and whistles the first time round.
The problems with the episode that make it one of the worst are:
The time loops
: What is the point of this time loop? Its not real and its all just in Janeway's head. It adds nothing to the story except maybe adding in an element of time travel which is always popular. The story is supposed to be about...I don't know, Janeway fighting death? Then why all this distracting crap about time travel? Its not like its a time travel problem that needs to be solved, it just happens and that's it. It feels like a ridiculously huge amount of pointless padding.
Now with added Vidiians
: Let's throw in some imaginary Vidiians. Why? Just because! Oh and Janeway gets the phage - what a great episode concept! - oh wait, its all just in her head again, yawn.
Janeway's memorial service
: The crew get to gush about how they love Janeway and how she changed her life....but you know its not actually happening, once again its all going on in Janeway's head. Janeway is making up a memorial service in her head about how much everyone loves her. How egotistical can you get? B'Ellana's little speech MIGHT be touching if she was actually giving it and it wasn't all just a figment of Janeway's imagination. Oh and we get more wastes of time with Kes trying to contact Janeway telepathically...
I think Godben summed it up well in his episode review thread he did a while back
I can only imagine the break-meeting for this episode.
Jeri Taylor: I have an idea for an episode where Janeway has a near death experience and her father tries to convince her to join him in the afterlife. It could be a profound character piece.
Joe Menosky: Good idea, but her father should really be an evil alien who wants to eat her soul.
Brannon Braga: People seem to love Cause and Effect, how about we throw in some time loops for absolutely no reason?
Kenneth Biller: Don't forget to add a shuttle crash or two. This is Voyager after all.
Jeri Taylor: All your ideas are crap! But I'm feeling too lazy to do the work required to write a good episode, so I'll use them anyway.
Re: Alter Ego
Its a pretty mediocre episode to me but it could have been good with a better actor in Garret Wang. Unfortunately the end turns into "oh no, something's going to destroy the ship" which is pretty tired at this point in Trek.
-Garrett Wang can't act to save his life. Fortunately his character is written as a naive little child, so his bad acting can actually be pretty entertaining at times (and at other times it can completely ruin scenes).
Don't expect this to change, Wang employs the "look constipated" mode of acting.
-The writers REALLY need to get their act together. If it weren't for the terrific cast (with the exception of Wang) I don't think I would be enjoying this show very much.
But it seems like your scores for season 3 are good so far (and a lot better than mine) so what's the problem? Also, it seems you never reviewed "Meld"?