I haven't seen this episode in years, but decided to watch it a few days ago - it is pretty terrible that it starts out as Chakotay focused episode, with Chakotay interested in the Ares IV, but then the writers completely shift the focus onto Seven. They couldn't even wait for Chakotay to get out of Sickbay to attend the funeral?
I thought Tom was supposed to be the mars expert, nostalgia buff anyway.....i think they just needed a Chokatay episode didn't they (series 6 and 7 is almost all Seven or the doctor) so he got this one even though Paris probably shouldv'e been the trigger for Seven's realisation that exploration for explorations sake is blah bla blah (see sig)
It's true they needed to bring Chakotay's character back in the limelight a little towards the end. About the shift of focus at the end of the series towards Seven and the Doctor...even though I didn't agree with everything suddenly centering around Seven...I must admit I love the Doctor and can't get enough of him. I never get sick of the Doctor!
Not only is he the source of much needed sarcasm and comic relief, but he pushes the bounds of what we think of when we hear the word "human" or "person". Seven, even though she was Borg, is still a human. The Doctor was not and still managed to learn and adapt and be creative. I love that. And Robert Picardo is just so hilarious. I couldn't imagine anyone else playing that character.
In this episode...even though it started out as being Chakotay's "thing", it became a turning point for Seven in her discovery of her own humanity. So, in that sense, I think the ending was okay. They DID after all risk their lives (more severely than usual) to recover that shuttle and the astronaut, so he was already fully respected. Seven's line at the end was FOR the man! Yes, they should have waited a little while...until Chakotay was out of sickbay haha. But, he already got what he wanted. He wanted to bring the shuttle and the man to Voyager for a proper space funeral and they succeeded. So, even if he was in sickbay, I think he was satisfied with the results.