Original Premiere: June 01, 2001
In every season, there are always a few episodes that make people cringe. “Containment” is one of those episodes. People don’t generally go so far as to say it’s the worst episode ever, but the fact of the matter is, the episode is… NOT good. But, as with most episodes, the intentions were good. Mark Jones had recently sent me a batch of episode ideas; I sifted through them, and picked out a few that I liked. Among the many ideas was a story about Bator finding a derelict ship that had suffered some sort of terrible disaster in the aftermath of some conflict with Species 8472. Mark suggested that derelict vessel be a Phobian ship, but, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I ignored that particular suggestion and instead thought it would be much more interesting if the Starlight encountered itself. I had been tinkering with that particular idea for quite some time, and since Mark kindly rekindled the flame, I thought I’d finally do something with it. Thus, I started putting together an episode.
Now, on occasion, I like to challenge readers with new ideas and concepts. I think that’s pretty much the heart of all science fiction, and since I was going to need a way to explain the Starlight’s dilemma, this episode seemed ripe for a challenging concept. Traditionally, one would expect the damaged Starlight to be some sort of harbinger from the future—but since that was so utterly predictable, I thought I’d shake things up a bit, and make the damaged Starlight a manifestation from the past… and I deftly littered the early portion of the episode with clues, like Alan’s injured shoulder. And in those early segments of the episode, I was really thinking this was going to turn into something great…
Unfortunately, it didn’t.
The resolution to the episode proved to be utterly impossible, and was subsequently its downfall. For the first time in the whole freaking series, I had NO way to actually end the episode. I was like… well… how the hell are they going to get out of this one? So basically, I had to B.S. my way through the ending… and Kendall’s convoluted “come to the rescue” bit was definitely a bunch of crap. As most people pointed out, the Federation really didn’t have the technology necessary to rewrite the timeline as extensively as this episode would have you believe. And even if the Federation DID have the technology, the chance of Kendall Johnson being able to single-handedly do all of those alterations in a couple of hours (or whatever) was extremely low… unless he guessed, but that’s still, well… crap!
Still, the episode wasn’t a total loss. The stuff between Alan and Erin, as usual, worked pretty well, and as far as I was concerned, the confrontation with Species 8472 aboard the derelict Starlight was borderline brilliant. I mean, I nearly soiled my pants when I read through that chapter the first time around. I wish every battle I wrote could be so intense… But ultimately, the ending is such an incredible letdown, that the entire episode suffered. In fact, I have told many people to simply heed the message in the episode’s closing moments: “The best thing we can do right now is move on.” Yeah. Just pretend this one didn’t happen…