Remember when they added Gruffy to the last season of Star Trek Voyager and he was so popular that EVERY sci-fi franchise suddenly included a walrus? That was so weird.
You know, Threshold – the infamous episode where Tom Paris travels really fast, turns into a salamander then has salamander babies with Captain Janeway) really should have been the last episode of Star Trek: Voyager.
I don’t mean production should have been shut down, everyone fired and the sets put to the torch – although a case for that can certainly be made – I mean that they discovered a perfectly plausible way to get back to Earth in no time flat.
The souped-up, transwarp shuttlecraft that inexplicably turns people into horny amphibians moves at infinite speed – it occupies every point in the universe at once until the pilot decides where to drop out of transwarp. As such there’s nothing stopping the pilot jumping instantly from the Delta quadrant to Earth orbit. The transformation into a space salamander takes some time to start, so they can land at the nearest medical facility and explain that they’re about to grow gills and cough up their own tongue, but that their doctor has prepared a complete treatment protocol and it’s right here on this PADD. A couple of days later they’re back to normal with no harm done and they’re home.
Janeway should instantly have devoted all of Voyager’s resources into building transwarp shuttles, packing them full of crew members and sending them back to Earth. The last person to leave the ship sets the self destruct to avoid contaminating the Delta quadrant with Federation tech, and everyone arrives back home safe and well with only the slight inconvenience of turning into an amphibian for a couple of days.
But no. Gotta hit that end-of-episode reset button! How else would we have been treated to the exquisite cringiness of the Doctor and Seven-of-Nine duetting on You Are My Sunshine?