By Season 3, Star Trek: Voyager started to find its pulse, although, it admittedly remained on life support for much of the season. The show’s overall look, feel, and general direction sees dramatic changes throughout the season. The result is a season that is arguably the show’s darkest and most experimental, with obvious foreshadowing of future events.
The slow-moving Kazon arc is wrapped up in the Season 3 opener, “Basics, Part II,” which sees the end of Maje Culluh and the death of Seska – whose character returns in the season’s penultimate episode “Worst Case Scenario” and again in Season 7’s “Shattered”.
The season pays tribute to Star Trek’s 30th anniversary in its second-episode “Flashback,” which revisits events from the sixth Trek movie, “The Undiscovered Country.” Many actors from the movie make appearances in the episode, with George Takei reprising his role as Captain Sulu.
Voyager pays another homage to Trek’s history in “False Profits,” where we see the return of the Ferengi characters Arridor and Kol, who became stranded in the Delta Quadrant during The Next Generation’s third-season episode “The Price.” Due to the show’s setting, this would be one of only two prominent appearances of the Ferengi on the series (the other being Season 7’s “Inside Man”).
The Doctor is freed from the confines of sickbay when he obtains the mobile emitter in the time-traveling two-parter “Future’s End.” The events of this episode are later explored in Season 5’s “Relativity.”
Midway through the third season, “Fair Trade” marks the clearest distinction between the show’s past and its future direction, when the ship moves beyond the wealth of Neelix’s knowledge and into truly uncharted territory.
The Borg, which will debatably become the show’s most prominent antagonist, are first introduced in “Blood Fever.”
The Borg return more prominently in the following episode, “Unity,” before making a bold return in the season finale, “Scorpion, Part I,” which, along with its fourth-season conclusion, was once voted the series’ best episode. Not only does “Scorpion” cement the Borg’s presence, it introduces us to a new species that’s potentially even more threatening, Species 8472, and sets up the addition of a new character, Seven of Nine.
The character of Kes undergoes significant changes throughout the third season, in appearance and personality. “Warlord” is arguably the first evidence of such changes, which are further examines in “Darkling.” Unfortunately, the changes prove unsuccessful, resulting in the character’s departure by early the next season.
In addition to stage lighting changes, which resulted in visibly darker scenes, CGI effects for rendering external shots of the ship rose to prominence – particularly in “The Swarm.” Janeway’s hair is let down – physically and figuratively, with a Janeway that’s more personal and practical.