Star Trek: Voyager

Season 3 Episode 7

Sacred Ground

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Oct 30, 1996 on UPN
out of 10
User Rating
165 votes

By Users

Episode Summary


Stardate 50063.2
Kes accidentally intrudes on a religious shrine and is almost killed by a strange energy beam. Told there is nothing that can medically be done to save her, Captain Janeway undergoes a spiritual quest to ask the "spirits" to spare Kes's life.

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  • Good Janeway Episode

    With McNeill sitting in the director's chair for the first time (substituting for Jonathan Frakes, who backed out to direct First Contact), VOY gives Janeway a spiritual journey that challenges her scientific background in another episode produced in the second season but held back for the third.

    It's the sort of idea that must be treated with care, because Star Trek fans are no dummies, and if the script tries to say that science is just another kind of religion, the fans will see through the ridiculousness of the assertion, knowing science and spirituality are as different as Mythbusters and The 700 Club. Equally problematic would be to assert or display that the scientific method is a flawed process, with most fans well aware a writer can manipulate the circumstances to "prove" (or mock) anything she wants. Klink, however, avoids preachy lessons in favor of a script that simply says, "Science is one approach. Let's look at this from another In the Star Trek world, it's a bold statement and a springboard for a refreshing story.

    And who better to ask to make a leap of faith than the captain? With Janeway's scientific background and Mulgrew's acting chops, it's the perfect fit, complimented with a cast of fine geriatric guest stars who chew the scenery in abstract parts that allow them to say much that means little. Meanwhile, Becky Ann Baker plays Janeway's spiritual guide, giving a Kathy Bates-like performance that's warm and whimsical.

    For McNeill (the first VOY actor to direct an episode), it's the perfect bundle of ingredients to mix together into something special, and he does just so.

  • Sacred Ground

    Sacred Ground was a great episode of Star Trek: Voyager and I really enjoyed watching this episode because it had a decent story but more importantly it had character development for Captain Janeway in the Heroes Quest fashion. I also like the questions raised regarding technology and science versus spirituality. I think it is fascinating to explore the combination or deeper understanding of each. The story played out well and it was basically a side track episode with little impact on the over all plot lines. I look forward to watching the next episode of Star Trek: Voyager!!!!moreless
  • Janeway must undergo a ritual in order to save Kes' life...

    I found that I could only rate this an 'ok' epidose: I found it seemed too familiar to fully enjoy. This type of episode where the science vs religion / belief is explored has been done before and the quest storyline was reminiscent of some Star Trek TNG. However, it is worth watching for the central performance of Kate Mulgrew who really gets the viewer to feel emotionally involved. Particularly like the very end when she listens to the Doctor's scientific explanations whilst looking doubtful and troubled; her scientific beliefs have clearly been shaken by her experience.

    Not a greatly original concept then, but saved by Janeway who I feel is becoming a better character in each episode!moreless
  • The Voyager crew is visiting the Nechani homeworld for a possible shore leave. Kes finds something interesting and goes to investigate. It is some kind of archway. Kes proceeds and walks through the archway.moreless

    The Voyager crew is visiting the Nechani homeworld for a possible shore leave. Kes finds something interesting and goes to investigate. It is some kind of archway. Kes proceeds and walks through the archway. She is stopped by a force field that knocks her unconscious. Kes is now dieing. She is beamed to sick bay. The Doctor tries to revive her, but is unsuccessful. Now Janeway wants answers. The Nechani insists there is nothing they can do Kes entered a sacred shrine and has been punished. Janeway asks for help. The Nechani says it is up to the ancient spirits.moreless
  • Predictable anti-science morality tale which fails even to make its point.

    Gene Roddenberry would have been ashamed of this abuse of his legacy. The episode makes a straw man of science, beats it up, then rides to its rescue. The ultimate moral of the show is that and that "confidence despite total ignorance is a virtue."

    Despite the often nonsensical techno-babble, Star Trek has always represented something like Sagan's hopeful vision of the scientific future of humanity: open-minded exploration: admitting what we don't know, so we can go looking for answers. Episodes like this one, which portray science as dogmatic, rigid, and arrogant (having "all the answers,"), do a disservice not only to science but to the spirit of the show.

    The actual plot even fails to make its point. The people (or beings) knew the testable, reproducible and explainable cure from the beginning, but were willing to withhold it--even allowing people to die--to preserve the belief in (unexplainable!) magic. They string Janeway along until she accepts their superstitious morality tale.

    I can accept her willingness to go along with it to get what she needed, but her apparent change of heart as a result is totally unconvincing. She should have been angry--not impressed.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Janeway: (left in a room with others who've been waiting there as long as they can remember) This is a test of some kind, isn't it? To prove my determination!
      Old Woman: A test? She thinks we're a test! What is she talking about?
      Old Man #1: She must like tests. I suppose tests make sense to her.

    • Doctor: Mr. Neelix, you're wallowing.
      Neelix: I'm...?
      Doctor: Wallowing in useless remorse. I'll have to ask you to stop. It's bad for the patient.

    • Chakotay: Captain, forgive me but you've never been one to put much trust in religious ceremonies... exactly what it is it you hope to accomplish?
      Janeway: If you're asking whether I expect to speak to the ancestral spirits, no, of course not.

    • Janeway: Have Kim and Torres given you a report?
      The Doctor: Yes. I received a fascinating lesson in the challenges of getting clear scanner readings through solid rock.

  • NOTES (1)