Well that'll teach me. After moaning about the lack of Voyager dealing with the problem of being stuck in the middle of nowhere and Neelix's addition to the crew seemingly pointless, this episode opens with both of these issues being addressed. Neelix has a plan to solve the ship's energy situation and has set up a kitchen to help with the food problem. These are the type of issues I want to see being dealt with in the background.
Then we get to the planetoid with the dilithium and things go sideways. Some great directing gets the tension going and Neelix ends up missing some rather important possessions. The body horror and crew attitudes throughout had me hooked, and once again the Doctor's 'awakening' from just a tool into a proper personality is fascinating. But unlike the previous episode it's a nice side story, rather than being the sole highlight.
I sort of wish the episode had explored the idea of switching the life support off if they hadn't caught up with the aliens, but at the same time, when Kes was questioning the hologram decision I found myself thinking "at least do it while we see if we can catch up."
After the disappointment of Time and Again, Phage is exactly what Voyager needed. As an amusing sidenote, here in the UK I think TV was a year behind the US, and this was one of six episodes I bought on VHS when the series first appeared.