FORMULA: Where Silence Has Lease + Persistence of Vision + The Cloud + The Game + Galaxy's Child
WHY WE LIKE IT: Naomi Wildman's big adventure.
WHY WE DON'T: Anything we haven't seen before?
REVIEW: It's that old nugget, the space siren trope, rearing its seductive head again. While Bliss isn't unwatchable, it IS derivative to the point of being forgettable. Voyager encounters what is basically a mouth in space, though they think it's a wormhole that leads directly and conveniently to Earth. Throw in some will-sapping telepathy and letters from home that promise to make your dreams come true, and you have an efficient lure for a stranded Starfleet crew.
Getting into the crew's headspace is something that's been done before, though here we do get to see what kind of life each character would love once he or she gets back to the Alpha Quadrant. Chakotay would like to become a teacher, Paris a test pilot, Neelix to have a valued role, Janeway is still hung up on Mark, and B'Elanna wants the Maquis to be alive. No real surprises. Seven and Naomi, lacking the drive to go back to the Earth, are unaffected, as is the Doctor, so it'll be up to them, along with a knowledgeable Ahab figure, to free Voyager from the monster's grip.
And it IS a monster far more than it is an alien life-form. Still very much indulging in fantasy, the show presents a creature I can't imagine evolving naturally. It eats starships. It can not only weaken people's minds and manipulate their senses to show them anything they want, but also broadcast actual sensor data and text messages. And yet, according to the Doctor, it does so on instinct and is likely non-sentient. What?!? I don't know if they were trying to make it ok for him to help kill the monster (because they actually don't), but it's a ludicrous assertion. If the creature's powers don't follow their own rules, it's that there are no rules. It does what it does because the script requires it to do so. In other words: The lazy writing Voyager is becoming known for.
The Seven-Naomi sisterly relationship is the bright spot and in many ways, the child's presence helps blanket the episode with a sort of fairy tale quality that makes sense. The technobabble solution at the end is so much more palatable when it's called "making Voyager taste bad", isn't it?
LESSON: Why they call it the mouth of a wormhole.
REWATCHABILITY - Medium: Not terribly badly done, but we've seen all of this before, and it's never risen above Medium either.