Michael’s article about Ro Laren really got me thinking about how Voyager could have been a lot more exciting. Don’t get me wrong, it is still my favourite series! I am a die hard Voyager fan, but reading Michael’s ‘What if Ro Laren had been Voyager’s First Officer?’ got my mind whirling with scenarios, questions and what if’s.
First of all as to what I think of there not being the whole ‘ Wouldn’t they/won’t they’ with Janeway and Chakotay, I am a J/C fan, I was rooting for them from the beginning but it was never going to happen. However if Ro was first officer there would have been a more interesting relationship filled with mistrust and could have had us gripped! I agree with Michael that both women would have been so strong willed and would have definitely ‘butted heads’! However if it were to be that way I think the writers would’ve had to find a way of not having that as the soul storyline, they could get carried away (the Kazon).
To have Ro Laren as First Officer instead of Chakotay would have made Voyager a more exciting and dangerous series. We would have seen lots of attempted mutiny episodes where Janeway’s authority would have been tested and the question of who would get them home and how, would come up!
Ro definitely wouldn’t have been so quick to fall into serving under Kathryn Janeway. She would’ve fought to take the Captain’s place and get the crew’s home by any means necessary, or would she?!
If Ro Laren was on that Maquis ship Voyager was sent to bring back, ‘Caretaker’ would’ve been full of uncertainties.
What would she do after she got her crew member back?
Would she have insisted on taking over?
If she did take the First officer position would we have felt that she was being genuine in that decision or would it pose more questions about what the fate of the crews would be?
That would’ve kept us on tender hooks wouldn’t it?
After ‘Caretaker’ she may have waited for the right moments to relieve Janeway from command and then stage a full blown mutiny, in episodes where Janeway was injured or incapacitated, we could have seen Ro try to take over. How would Janeway react to that? Could we have seen that darker side of Janeway that we thought could have quite easily seen in later seasons? It would have explores both characters further.
‘Scorpion’ as Michael said is an excellent example of how Ro could have completely changed that episode. I agree with Michael that Ro would have gone along with the plan until Janeway is injured then that could have been an opportunity for Ro to take over and do whatever it took to survive though I don’t think 7 of 9 would be there at all, Ro wouldn’t have just ‘dealt with Seven better’ she would’ve continued to try and throw her out the airlock until she succeeded. This makes me think about how much further the writers could have gone as far as danger for Voyager in the ‘Delta Quadrant’, if reckless behaviour could have either got them home earlier or killed. This links to ‘Equinox’, Michael touched upon this, if Ro was first officer this could have been the opportunity she needed to take command! Seeing how the ‘Equinox’ crew fought their way through the ‘Delta Quadrant’ would have given Ro that chance to take over and get Voyager home without thinking about ‘Starfleet regulations’, but at what cost?
I definitely think that Ro wouldn’t have stopped Janeway from torturing Lessing, might she have even let her go that step further? That indeed would have ‘opened the door to some great story telling’ This got me thinking if that had happened, would Janeway have to step down because of the guilt of it building up? What would Janeway become if this happened, if she didn’t have Chakotay as her ‘rock’ would she break?
So would it have been a good thing? I think it would have been great, if executed properly. It would have been annoying if it was a continuous conflict all the time, if they wrote it so Ro would have waited for those moments where Janeway was at her weakest then it would have made for a very exciting plot!
Now then, how would Voyager have gotten home if Ro Laren was first officer? I am pretty sure it would have been a lot more exciting than ‘Endgame’…
Reprinted with kind permission from Laura Fawcett.