the story: Harry gets mixed up in an alien culture's rituals concerning the afterlife.
what it's all about: "Emanations" is a perfectly serviceable episode for fans just looking for a cool sci-fi concept and/or examination of existential matters. Where it fails is exploring its nominal lead, Harry Kim.
So this is probably why fans began to think Harry was basically worthless. His first spotlight barely has anything to do with him, or say anything about him. Already we've seen B'Elanna Torres ("Parallax"), Neelix ("Phage"), and Tom Paris ("Ex Post Facto") command spotlight episodes, so it's not as if the series has proven deficient in that regard at this early stage of the game. It's certainly true that fans didn't end up caring all that much for just about any character in Voyager, but it wasn't for lack of effort. Somehow, however, Harry ended up being pigeon-holed as the most meaningless of the bunch, and I have little doubt that it stems from "Emanations." It's a shame, too, as he turns out much, much better in the second season episode "Non Sequitur."
- franchise - A casual fan's kind of episode.
series- Nothing much to do with Voyager, alas. character- A poor spotlight for Harry Kim. essential- Not hardly.
Martha Hackett (Seska)