the story: The ship is attacked by a virus that grows in size.
what it's all about: This is a germaphobe's worst nightmare, I think. The aliens-of-the-week are giant germs. If that makes you incredibly uncomfortable, this will be a tough episode for you, because they fly around the whole ship.
The basic premise is so generic that it'll invite anyone brave enough to watch. It's interesting and all, but doesn't have a lot of distinguishing properties other than imagery. Except for Janeway. As a commando. Attacking giant germs.
So that's the real draw of the episode. Doesn't really say much about Janeway herself. It could've been anyone at the heart of this one, but I imagine Kate Mulgrew enjoyed the change of pace. Because she's mostly acting against, as I may have mentioned, giant germs, she doesn't even get to "Starship Mine" (Next Generation) her way through it, where Picard at least got to outsmart a bunch of thugs (including Tim Russ, later to be cast as Voyager's Tuvok; how cool would it have been for Tuvok to be the focus of this episode?).
Not much else to say about it, except "Macrocosm" manages to create a scenario where the Doctor can't safely leave sickbay, after he's just gotten that nifty mobile emitter. Seems kinda insane when you think about it...
- franchise - The thought of giant germs is morbidly compelling, so I'll give this one to casual fans brave enough to experience it.
series- Because it really doesn't have much to tether it to Voyager. character- I wish Action Janeway had a better reason to exist. essential- No, not essential. Not essential at all, giant germs!