Star Trek Voyager (VOY) Season 3 Guest Reviews
Basics, Part II
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Actually missed the second part but I'll review it from memory.
It didn't do the first part justice I thought. All that happens on the planet is Janeway ordering the crew to eat grubs, Hogan getting eaten by a monster, and Chakotay saving one of the natives from a volcano spill allowing the two peoples separated by millennia of development to make nice. What goes on on Voyager was much more entertaining though I thought, with Suder going totally bad-ass on the Kazon crew, having to allow his killer instincts to resurface in an effort to help retake the ship, which sadly costs him his life :-(
There's the not so surprising revelation that Tom wasn't killed while leaving the ship in the first part as he arrives back to help save the day with Talaxian reinforcements. But aside from returning the crew to Voyager, this episode pretty much puts to bed the long running Seska arc with her death, and the ships encounters with the Kazon, with Maje Culluh's final appearance.
Remarkable quote: "Trapped on a barren planet, and you're stuck with the only Indian in the universe who can't start a fire by rubbing two sticks together." -Chakotay, to Janeway
Remarkable quote #2: "We must do this together, Mr. Suder. If you don't trust yourself yet, then trust me. I will help you any way I can. One hologram and one sociopath may not be much of a match for the Kazon, but... we'll have to do." -The Doctor to Suder
Remarkable dialogue: "If you can help me with repairs, we can be on our way in a few hours." - "Lieutenant, our ships are no match for Voyager and your shuttlecraft can hardly-" - "Commander Paxim, my people are counting on you! Look, no one knows Voyager like I do. I know every vulnerability, every blind spot. Don't worry, I have a plan." - "(sigh) Very well, we'll rendezvous in an hour. Paxim out." - "(to himself) One hour. I should be able to come up with some kind of plan in one hour." -Tom Paris asking for help from Talaxian Commander Paxim
Remarkable fact: This is the final major appearance of the Kazon on the series as antagonists. They will only be seen later through a temporal disruption in "Shattered", and as the 'Warship Voyagers' fighting force in "Living Witness".
Rating: 7 (Cameron)
Stardate 50126.4/2293: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Whilst the most enjoyment derived from this episode is indeed from the 'flashback' moments themselves. The premise getting to that point is thin.
Tuvok is getting the space crazies and turns out it's a repressed memory, he needs Janeway's help to guide him in reliving the memory to purge it from his unconscious and prevent it from doing serious harm to his brain. Upon entering a mind-meld in an effort to relive the memory, the pair find themselves on the bridge of the Excelsior during the events of "The Undiscovered County", from which Tuvok was an ensign on the ship under the command of Sulu.
After replaying the memory over it becomes clear to Tuvok and Janeway what was pretty apparent when we first entered the memory to see Tuvok experience the memory of the falling girl when tending to a dying Valtane (who was seen quite alive at the end of "The Undiscovered Country").
The Doc, who's monitoring the meld in Sickbay, uses something, something, radiation to kill the memory, masquerading as a virus, which had been passed from host to host over centuries, possibly millennia (given we see the earliest host of the virus as a Neanderthal (?) youth).
It's a pretty flimsy premise and had the flashback not been set on the Excelsior with a man of George Takei's calibre providing such a wonderful cameo, this episode would've fallen well down the rankings. But purely on things like Sulu's appearance, seeing the Excelsior, and the references to Star Trek VI, this episode gets a 6.
Nitpicking: Did the whole crew on Voyager just forget about the magical sirillium inside the nebula? Neelix, Tuvok and B'Elanna all discuss it's potential uses, and there's no mention of any retrieval during or at the end of the episode?
Remarkable quote: "Mr. Neelix, I would prefer not to hear the life history of my breakfast." -Tuvok
Rating: 6 (Cameron)
Stardate 50156.2: Harry and Tom find themselves in an Akritirian prison, surrounded by prisoners. They have been implanted with 'The Clamp'. This device stimulates their violent tendencies. When Harry gives in to the device, Tom saves him and when Tom gives in, Harry saves him. While the Akritirian government is stubborn, Janeway mounts a rescue operation which involves using Neelix' ship and some deception.
Contrary to Bernd's review of this episode, I did not find this a episode worth a rating of 1. I thought it was quite exciting to watch, keeping the viewer on their toes. Harry and Tom's situation looked very desperate and the 'oh no' feeling was quite prominent throughout.
The manifesto of the one person being able to survive in the prison for six years (imagine counting 2191 or 2192 days) was forced onto Harry although he did not take much interest in it. The fact that the species which was introduced as violent at first could produce an individual capable of controlling the clamp is remarkable. This means that, however violent, at least this individual had far more willpower than Starfleet-trained humans (Tom and Harry).
I liked this episode because it gave me the same feeling as TNG: "The Game" and it kept me thinking about the situation. I thought it was quite a unique episode. Clearly, I've seen better episodes though and the four missing points are for the lack of Star Trek technology, the stupidly stubborn Akritirian government, the lengthy prison scenes and the easy way out at the end.
Rating: 5 (Tijmen de Haan)
Stardate 50156.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing
I also don't think this episode is as bad as a 1/10 rating, and I suppose it's also one that was long overdue. In the pilot we were introduced to the pairing up of Paris and Tom and how they could see eye to eye and be friends despite being at the opposite ends of the... disciplinary spectrum I guess, Tom being the outcast and Kim the boy-scout. It was only a matter of time before the two got an episode around them and their relationship, and this one goes to pretty extreme lengths to test that, with the pair nearly killing each other thanks to the 'clamps'.
Having said all that it's still not as good as I thought it could've been. Maybe if the episode surrounded on their breaking out and their journey to escape being hampered by the effects of going mad, it would've been a bit more interesting, instead of just being inside the prison with Harry going nuts and Tom nearly dying, just a thought. Pretty good cinematography, the atmosphere pretty dank and dark, the decaying sanity of the two Starfleet officers contrasting with the cliched resident Zen-Master Zio, who I thought had quite clearly lost his marbles despite his beliefs to the contrary.
The B-plot isn't very exciting, I thought it was unnecessary to introduce another compound of lithium. If the Akritirians had access to paralithium which is convertible into trilithium, why the hell bother playing around with the future's version of the periodic table in introducing a new compound for no reason where you can just settle on a well known alternative? I did like how they FINALLY remembered they have Neelix's ship and find a use for it too.
Anyway, in the end, this was the episode that had to be made, I don't think many future Harry/Tom episodes would've worked had they not gone through the trouble to solidify their friendship in the most testing way.
Remarkable scene: Yep, again, it's the zoom-out from the exterior of the chute to finding out the prison is situated in space.
Rating: 4 (Cameron)
Stardate 50252.3: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Janeway deserved to be locked up, even against the advise of her tactical officer and the resident expert in the Delta Quadrant, she ignored the perilous situation at hand and decided to place the crew in lethal jeopardy for the sake of a shortcut. This is entirely hypocritical of her. She stood by Starfleet laws to deny the Kazon technology to even ensure them water and clothes, she stood by her morals to strand her crew in the Delta Quadrant, and here she concocts some crazy scheme to make herself look like a fool, by saying that Federation laws should be damned cause she doesn't want the crew to spend an extra year out of a potential 70 making sure they don't come under attack from a potent force who only looked to attack those who crossed into their territory. For shame.
This episode is only good due to the B-story (or was it the A story? Both seemed to have roughly equal screen time...) about the Doctor's program degrading. It's kinda sad to see him so incompetent, and you do give his character alot of sympathy for that. And the final moment of the episode I thought was too ambiguous, reading Memory Alpha's synopsis, it say's that the Doctor had lost his memory regarding his relationships with the crew, but still remembers his opera. Will we even discern a difference in the next episode however?
The amount of technobabble hinders this episode along with Captain Hypocrisy's plan to nearly kill her crew. Whether it's saving the Docs program, trying to find a way through the Swarm's tachyon net, their shield sapping technology or whatever, the episodes littered with utter garbage talk followed by the handy '...that should be enough to.....' line to make it clear to us idiots what all that nonsense was meant to do.
Oh, and speaking of idiocy, how about the solution to the Swarm clamping onto the ship? They hesitated firing a photon torpedo into the Swarm from thousands of kilometers away due to the lack of shields, but there's no such problem in using the phasers and the resulting feedback pulse to blow up dozens of Swarm ships that were ATTACHED TO THE HULL at that point in time.
What nonsense, 3/10. I was going to give it 5, but I'm afraid the strength of the Doctor's plight wasn't strong enough to lift the rating higher, and we'll only see more examples of hypocrisy from Janeway in the future. Not too mention the entire lack of follow on this episode will no doubt have, the Swarm failed their first attempt to take on Voyager and just gave up even though Voyager was said to have not even been a 1/3rd the way through their territory where the episode ends? The Swarm's only group which when seen latching onto Voyager looks rather small as well, is that all they have to cover all their space? If so the entire region of space MUST have been smaller than suggested, otherwise, that would have meant only the one 'Swarm' was out there protecting this vast area yet still managing to guard it with the fiercest more bulletproof intent. Unlikely.
Rating: 3 (Cameron)
Stardate 50074.3: Synopsis in main VOY listing
This episode is goofy to the max but what can you expect when you have an episode surrounding grovelling Ferengi. But I think it's got intelligent scripting in parts, they do well to reference the events of TNG episode "The Price" which I suppose necessitated an episode like this happen on Voyager at some stage. I also like Janeway's cunning in rationalising Starfleet's duty to the people of the planet in question in stopping the interference the Ferengi have caused, due to their being there thanks to a Federation research project gone awry.
Then it gets totally fruity with Neelix masquerading as the Grand Proxy in an attempt to convince Arridor and Kol to return to Ferenginar. The major failing in these scenes though is how quickly violence is resorted to. Arridor suggests killing 'The Grand Proxy' when they realise their scheme is foiled, the mob of natives go so far as to grab torches and try to immolate the three 'Sages', is their something in the water in this planet?
Nothing too fantastic about this episode, it's funny and clever in parts in the way the crew use the song of the sage to extract the pair of Ferengi, a nice conclusion to 'The Price', but nothing special. Oh, and I just browsed over Bernd's review and agree on the appalling handling of the Ferengi escaping Voyager, overpowering trained Starfleet Security with their fists, making their way from Deck 2 to the shuttlebay without a whisper and blasting out! Makes the escape from the Death Star look like a picnic!
Remarkable fact: This episode presents the second of three instances where Ethan Phillips has played a Ferengi, once in TNG's "Ménage à Troi", here, and later in ENT's "Acquisition".
Remarkable makeup reuse: Speaking of Ethan Phillips it looks certain that they just reused his Ferengi mask from this episode for the Enterprise episode mentioned above.
Rating: 4 (Cameron)
Stardate 50203.1 : Synopsis in main VOY listing
Another telepathic race with something to hide. Another Starfleet crew member at the mercy of having their thoughts violated. Another unspeakable crime exposed. Taking notes during this episode I couldn't help but feel of this as a TNG plot and amazingly enough that was the case. memoryalpha.org stating under this episode's page that this episode originated as a TNG episode with Troi meant to be the principlal character. Whilst not a great deal would have changed I wonder how the scene in which B'Elanna let's fly at the Enarans about the 'genocide' they suppressed would've been handled had it been the usually reserved Troi in the part. But anyway.
Voyager picks up some aliens on the week on their way to Earth (and like many of the recent aliens of the week, they happen to have this strange mesh surrounding their hairlines). This race is telepathic and it becomes evident these powers are being used on B'Elanna who experiences vivid dreams more akin to memories about a young woman in love with a member of a group of Enarans who have rejected all but the most rudimentary technology. This young woman's father is a military big cheese responsible for the resettlement of the 'Regressives'. Rumours are abound that this resettlement program is a genocide in disguised and the transporter used to relocate these people is in fact a vaporiser of sorts.
B'Elanna investigates further to discover an elderly Enaran on board is sending her these memories hoping Torres will reveal the truth to the next generation of Enarans. Which Torres obviously does. The elder Enaran's deny the statement, whilst another young Enaran accepts B'Elanna's offer of reliving the memories for herself.
I don't know about there being TOO great a historical allegory here just because genocide is supposedly being committed. Hell, I'm not even convinced that the genocide WAS committed! We are given no reason to believe EITHER party but their word on what is really happening and both stories seem equally plausible. We didn't get a chance to see the transporter device that the young man believes is a tool of execution, though memoryalpha.org states that the devices on which the young man was executed on WAS the device used to maintain the illusion of transportation, perhaps said victims were simply vaporised to molecules on a higher setting, point is, we didn't see the other Regressives being 'resettled' so can't say anything for sure! I suppose were to believe that the woman whose memories B'Elanna experienced later discovered the definitive truth for herself, but for the audience NOT to be made privy for that it's hard to take anyone's side. At least that's how I see it but anyway.
Roxann Dawson and Bruce Davison are quite excellent in this episode and, once again it's those driving performances which make the episode. There is a scene worth watching where Davison's character (the Enaran in the dream's father) speaks of how the Regressives spread lies and the young man featured in the dream is doting on others is wonderful, whilst Dawson's wordless reactions convey so much more.
And as an aside I will express the irony I felt in watching an episode about the development of a guest character played out by a regular character who, herself, will remain largely unaffected by these events and undergoes only as much development in the remaining 4 and a half seasons of Voyager.
So it's not too bad an episode, the performances of the actors I noted are really worth viewing and the writing was pretty good. I'm glad that the story delved well into the Enaran society and was more than a shallow glimpse. I think I'll give it 5.
Rating: 5 (Cameron)
Stardate 50063.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing
More mystical mumbo-jumbo takes the spotlight in what's certainly the worst episode of the series so far, Kes is struck down by some energy field, and Janeway goes through grueling albeit pointless tasks in an effort to save her, going through a crisis of faith which I really couldn't care a great deal about in the process. She goes the entire episode trying to find a scientific explanation for Kes' condition to get a treatment, it boils down to her having to walk Kes through the field again, which is successful due to a number of amazing coincidences about Janeway's metabolism, the initial failed treatment of Kes, and the 'will of the spirits'. Janeway finds the rather rational explanation at the end disappointing by the looks of it, well boo-hoo. She had been wanting a concrete solution to the problem and got it only after taking a desperate leap of faith, why so upset?
I just found it garbage really, a dull, boring episode where there's zero tension cause Kes isn't exactly a character people could've found themselves caring about much considering the lack of exposition she's received thus far, and even then, she's had much better episodes devoted to her where she at least got the chance to ACT a bit in them.
The incredibly generous 1 point awarded is ONLY for seeing Janeway semi-semi-naked, that was hot.
Remarkable fact: Robert Duncan McNeill will do much better directing future Voyager episodes "Unity", "Someone to Watch Over Me", "Body and Soul", and Enterprise episodes "Cold Front", "The Breach" and the excellent episodes "Twilight" and "Countdown".
Rating: 1 (Cameron)
Stardate 50312.5: Synopsis in main VOY listing
"Future's End" is a great story that never left me bored. I have to admit that I was skeptical about this episode before actually watching it. The synopsis made it sound ridiculous like so many Voyager episodes. "Future's End" was a pleasant surprise as it did not reveal too much 29th century technology to the viewer and risk becoming too ridiculous. The episode reminds me a lot of TNG: "Time's Arrow" and seems just as good, especially considering the time loop issue is similar.
I know the idea of the Doctor's mobile emitter was a controversial one. Too many times in Voyager the writers seem to go a little too far with the science fiction they come up with. One would think that the Federation would be radically different after Voyager comes home at the end of the series, but nothing seems much different about it in ST:N.
I appreciate how the side jokes in the episode were treated as well. They never got too out of hand like so many other Voyager episodes, and the writers had a lot of opportunities to make a lot of tiresome jokes considering the 20th century setting.
Remarkable guest appearance: Sarah Silverman
Rating: 8 (Chris)
Future's End, Part I Stardate 50132.5/1996: Synopsis in main VOY listing
I was always a bit sceptical about the premise of this episode, it always seemed to me that time travel adventures involving Earth were a bit of a desperate grab for ratings, kind of like "Time's Arrow". But this actually handles the issue in a smarter manner which doesn't try to go out of its way too much to place the story on the setting. Of course, there's no way around that with the constant social commentary running about the fashion of the time, identical ring tones for mobile phones, SETI, Soap Operas, the Computer revolution of the time and so on.
Having said that, it still translates into a great first part-er, Ed Begly Jr. and Sara Silverman weren't the most conventional choices for a guest spot on Star Trek, but they played their roles really well (Can you imagine Sarah Silverman in THIS day and age acting so pleasant, saying this in 2008 it's almost like watching two different people haha).
And the scenes on Earth were well done, it's not often Trek ventures outside for location shooting beyond the famous mountain ranges often used (the name of which escapes me), so it was smart to fully utilise the locations of Los Angeles. There's some good action scenes and I particularly liked the banter between Tuvok and Paris. Braxton was stereotypically insane and I didn't like that. The scene where Kes and Neelix are watching the soap opera is a screamer, and it's funny watching Janeway hesitantly operate a late 20th century computer, and Chakotay remarking on its interface. So in the end, it's really fun but doesn't let the viewer get bogged down in the weight of the situation (OMG Voyager's back home, yay?), because the crew know they can't get too worked up, and the ramifications of failing are too severe, and the villain in Starling is one they will have to do well to match considering the advanced technology at his disposal.
There's little point commenting on the plotholes and paradoxes regarding the Eugenics War and the Computer revolution only coming about thanks to 29th century involvement. The Eugenics War would've eventually been retconned to a later date as Earth would find itself in a more devastating war only decades later in WW3. And the computer revolution paradox? I have no answer really. And it's bound to leave others with the same headache Janeway said such paradoxes gave her.
Remarkable logo: Chronowerx's logo is clearly the Starfleet combadge for the famous arrow logo from the 29th century. Strangely enough, of all things a local Patio designing company I know of has a similar emblem...
Remarkable quote: "We could've worn our Starfleet uniforms. I doubt if anyone would've noticed." -Tuvok, slyly remarking on the (awful) fashion of the time.
Remarkable quote 2: "What does it mean, groovy?" -Tuvok, to Tom Paris
Remarkable dialogue: "Who are you, and what's that thing in your pants?" - "I beg your pardon?" -Rain Robinson and Tuvok, referring to a tricorder Rain saw Tuvok hide in his pants.
Remarkable ship: The Aeon, though I'm not a fan of it's 'Un-Starfleet' design nor do I believe that one tiny ship like that is meant to patrol and police the timeline.
Rating: 8 (Cameron)
Future's End, Part II
Stardate 50312.5/1996: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Unlike many 2-parters I actually think this one is right on par with the opening act of the first part. A lot more tension oriented with Starling's impending launch, is it on or off? He's on the surface, taunting Janeway from his office one moment then he back on Voyager, then somehow he's beamed back to Earth. So without worrying about things like Soap Operas and fashion, the episode just takes aim at stopping Starling.
I didn't like the paranoid rednecks, I think it's pretty obvious the entire sequence is nothing but filler, and the antagonists in the situation were so horribly stereotypical, at least Chakotay was pretty sincere talking about his past life as a freedom fighter didn't lead to anything satisfying in a futile attempt to endear himself to his captors. Of course, there's also the issue of the Doc's mobile emitter. The way he's boasting about it and strongly articulating to the camera about it nearly screamed 'Jump the Shark' to me, but that's certainly NOT the most important thing to have happened in this episode. And it actually does make sense that such a piece of technology would eventually have been developed, so while it did seem so convenient his receiving the emitter during the story, it's actually pretty plausible.
Starling's torture of the Doctor trying to get Janeway's 'psyche' profile was quite disappointing as well, as Bernd says in his review, it looked like they couldn't quite find the balance they wanted with his character, and the Doctor's hypothesis of Starling being bi-polar seems to only have been made mention of to try and justify his sudden ruthlessness in an effort to gain something possibly insignificant at the time. He had all this future technology at his disposal, he had a forcefield surrounding the Aeon which couldn't be penetrated, while I understand the need to understand your enemy, I thought it was just not needed. His plan to to go lol, Back to the Future, actually seemed somewhat credible to me. He after all only had one small Federation ship to him, perhaps a successful trip to the 2800's could've yielded a bigger bounty as he has a plethora of alternative sources of technology to choose from. Useful Medical equipment, replicators, alien technology. He's quite alot like Berlinghoff Rasmussen now that I bring that up, and his actions are equally selfish despite his rhetoric.
Despite all that, there's still moments I liked, the talk between B'Elanna and Chakotay seemed justified, had they gotten stuck what would they have done? The fact that they both think staying on Earth is the solution was a bit short-sighted IMO. Why not travel to Vulcan and tell people who might have actually accepted their situation? There's the contamination issue true, but I'd imagine Vulcans being smart enough NOT to openly risk contaminating the timeline by letting Voyager roam around the Alpha Quadrant sticking its nose where it wouldn't belong. That's totally my opinion though and I could understand why people would find fault with that option.
And Rain and Paris, it was actually pretty sad to have had to see the two become split up, one reminisces that Kes would leave the series not long after, it's a shame they couldn't just beam up Rain like was done in The Voyage Home with Gillian and have Rain join. Hell, there wasn't a lot to keep her on Earth and I suppose having her boss killed and Voyager leave wouldn't have been too good for her career. Maybe I'm sentimental cause I thought Silverman was hot and her and McNeill had great chemistry, oh well. And I guess we see why Janeway loathes the Temporal Prime Directive as evidenced in "Relativity" and "Endgame", as here due to said Directive her crew isn't allowed to be returned to Earth in it's own time period by Braxton. I get that she should've used the slingshot effect, but considering the damage inflicted by Braxton in part 1, were they willing to try and defy what he himself would've prevented when asked?
In spite of its few flaws it does get just the 1 point taken off bringing it to a 7, but that still doesn't matter, this is a great couple of episodes not just of Voyager, but of Star Trek as a whole.
Remarkable facts: Janeway sports yet another new hairdo in this episode which she carries for a while. -- Come the 29th century, the Computer will have a male voice. -- The font for Chronowerx is clearly the same as used in the Voyager and Deep Space Nine credits.
Remarkable quote 1: "That is a non-sequitur. Would you please pass me a burrito?" -Tuvok, to Rain (So much for Vulcan's being vegetarians by the way.)
Remarkable quote 2: "Tuvok, has anyone ever told you you're a real freak-a-saurus?" -Tom Paris
Remarkable quote 3: "Divine intervention is... unlikely" -The Doctor
Remarkable dialogue 1: "Agent Tuvok, what's up?" - "Breakfast is 'up.'" -Rain Robinson and Tuvok
Remarkable dialogue 2: "And you, Mister Leisure-suit." - "There's a name I hadn't considered." -Rain to The Doctor
Rating: 7 (Cameron)
Stardate 50348.1-50361.7 : Synopsis in main VOY listing
This is a pretty dull episode which serves to give Jennifer Lien SOMETHING to do beyond play nurse and get the space crazies from her mental abilities. Voyager picks up three survivors from a wrecked ship before it explodes. One of them however transmits the consciousness of a brutal dictator 200 years old into Kes before he dies, Kes then proceeds to take power on a planet whilst under Tieran's mental power. Some people get shot, but the situations pretty easily resolved. Cue credits.
And that's really it, it's so non-eventful and so boring that ONLY Lien's acting here is a saving grace. Here she toes the line between the personality of this aggressive warlord having to fight off Kes, and in a few short scenes she is herself again, but the majority of the performance is done under this alien influence. And there's not much else to say besides that, it's the typical 'Starfleet crew member taken hostage' plot with a twist, but despite the twist the happenings on! Voyager are the same. The resident alien of the week having to deal with the crisis wants the troublemaker dead, putting the hostage at risk, the Captain again would never resort to that. There's one attempt to resolve the situation which fails then another unlikely breach of the compound where Kes is rescued and Tieran's mind is expelled. Other things are touched on like the history of Tieran's rule and we see his inner circle, but I can't say I was too intrigued and wanted it all to just come to an end.
There are however a couple of other things worth merit. The scene between Kes/Tieran and the captured Tuvok where the latter interrogates the former and insinuates Tuvok has some lusting for Kes. And also a confrontation between Kes and Tieran inside Kes' mind, so a couple of points there and for Lien's performance. But the remainder of the episode is pretty forgettable.
Useless Goldshirts killed: 1
Remarkable fact: This episode introduces a holographic program of the Paxau Resort that continues to recur throughout the season, subsequently appearing in "The Q and the Grey", "Macrocosm", "Alter Ego", "Blood Fever" and "Darkling".
Rating: 2 (Cameron)
Stardate 50348.1: Synopsis in main Voyager listing.
It probably should come as no surprise that this turned out to be a silly episode. The concept --- that tiny, sweet, passive Kes --- is possessed by the neural pattern of a vicious alien warlord (named Tieran) pretty much assured that the end result would be farcical.
The capacity of alien beings (usually villainous ones) to take possession of humanoid bodies is very well established in the Star Trek universe. We have seen Redjac’s possession of Hengist (TOS: "Wolf in the Fold"), the Companion’s possession of Nancy Hedford (TOS: "Metamorphosis"), Sargon’s possession of James Kirk (TOS: "Return to Tomorrow"), the Beta Renner life-form’s possession of Jean-Luc Picard (TNG: "Lonely Among Us"), the Ux-Mal prisoners’ possession of Deanna Troi (TNG: "Power Play"), Vantika’s possession of Julian Bashir (DS9: "The Passenger"), not to mention Pah-wraiths who take possession of Keiko O’Brien (DS9: "The Assignment"), Jake Sisko (DS9: "The Reckoning"), and Gul Dukat (DS9: "What You Leave Behind").
Given that this apparently happens at least once or twice to every starship that leaves spacedock, one would hope that this would eventually be the kind of thing Starfleet doctors routinely scan for. Mercifully, this time out no one is particularly surprised that an alien has taken possession of Kes. Indeed, the doctor is able to determine how it happened and devise a cure quite easily. In previous possession episodes, the possessor often trips up because they stay in the same body long enough to be figured out. In this case, Tieran’s doctor advises that he abandon Kes’s body and seek a new host and Tieran only stays in order to retain Kes’s telepathic abilities.
One of the oddest twists of this episode involves the gender swap. Tieran is a male transported into Kes’s female body --- a gender change that has clearly upset his/her wife Nori. By contrast, Tieran immediately adopts his/her new gender and uses Kes’s feminine wiles to try to seduce Ameron --- son of the Ilarian Autarch,! whom he/she has just killed. He/she later tries to seduce Tuvok! Ultimately, he/she decides to marry Ameron and implies strongly to Nori that the three of them will have some kind of three-way relationship.
In the end, the fact that Kes actually fights off Tieran’s possession is a welcome change from previous possession episodes. Normally we just have the victim saying something at the end like "it was like I was just a passenger; I could see what was happening but I couldn’t do anything." This ending leaves Kes significantly more empowered than Troi, for example, had been at the conclusion of TNG "Power Play."
At the end of the day, we can say that Jennifer Lien (Kes/Tieran) did a much better job playing a tough villain than Alexander Siddig (Bashir/Vantika) did in DS9: "The Passenger." Unfortunately, that’s not saying much. In other words, this was a silly episode, but at least it wasn’t horrible.
"Nitpicking": Captain Picard withdrew from the conflict at the first sign the Klingon state was entering a civil war even though one of his own officers was at risk (TNG: "Redemption, Part I"). By contrast, Janeway not only sides with Demmas’s faction, she houses him as he leads a faction in civil strife, and no thought is given concerning this clear violation of the Prime Directive.
Remarkable costume: For a government run by a paranoid Autarch, it’s remarkable that the Ilarian ceremonial guards keep their faces shrouded. This obviously allows even aliens (like Tuvok) to sneak into the palace. Tieran feels the need twice to go around the room and rip off all the shrouds --- he probably should have dispensed with them in the first place!
Rating: 3 (John Hamer)
The Q and the Grey
Stardate 50384.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing
For all the silliness that always seemed to accompany Q for at least half of his episodes this one does well to balance the comedy and the bigger picture. The Continuum falling into civil war though? Even though our current society still has trouble accepting the right for one to end their own life, factions haven't emerged and those in favour and against haven't come to violent blows as a result, I guess that's just to show for all the power the Q possess, they are extremely arrogant. In retrospect, I think Q's antics on the Enterprise may have had a greater message about individuality and anti-authority, albeit at the cost of inconvenience and irritation of Picard. But in taking up Quinn's role as martyr, Q 'grows up' in a sense. I guess you could have already said that in "Death Wish" where he was on the opposing side and pointing out the ramifications of allowing one Q to commit suicide, which is surprisingly dark for an episode featuring a more mature Q, but here he's got a greater purpose than just representing the establishment. And when we see the Q in favour of crushing 'our' Q's freedom movement, it's pretty clear why he would have switched sides. It does make me wonder why he was so adamant to keep things the way they were in "Death Wish" though if he was always such a rebel. Maybe his threats to destroy humanity in "All Good Things" weren't his alone and he may have served the Continuum in some capacity those times.
Anyway, enough hypothesising, back to the episode. It's also in this we see a little bit more depth to Janeway. By this stage I think people may have forgotten she had a life and a husband back on Earth, so this is honoured by Q pointing out that the chance for children with Mark may have slipped away and she admits the prospect is one she's open to (Of course, not to Q though ;D). However she clearly brushes aside her personal desires and the chance for cosmic adventures as mother of Q Jr. to continue her responsibilities to her ship. Her saying her crew wasn't after a 'quick fix' was quite premature though, had she said all this in front of the crew in denying the chance to get them home it may not have gone down so well I thought...But anyway, she had her responsibilities and teaches Q the value of them as well if he has any hope of becoming a father. And this I'm guessing is probably the theme of the whole affair.
Suzie Plakson is great in her supporting role as the female Q. And it's funny how her lamentations over Vulcans and Klingons reference her brief roles as the Vulcan Dr. Selar and Worf's Klingon mate K'Ehleyr, both from The Next Generation.
Nitpicking: Q states that two Q mating hasn't ever occurred before, he must be stretching things pretty far not to be considering the parents of Amanda Rogers to be Q.
Remarkable quote: "What are you doing with that dog? [pause] ... I'm not talking about the puppy." -Female Q, to Q referring to Captain Janeway and the puppy she's holding.
Remarkable quote 2: "You! Bar rodent!" - Q, to Neelix
Remarkable dialogue: "I know that you're probably asking yourself: why would a brilliant, handsome, dashingly omnipotent being like Q want to mate with a scrawny little bipedal specimen like me?" - "Let me guess, no one else in the universe will have you?" - "Nonsense! I could have chosen a Klingon Targ, a Romulan empress, a Cyrillian microbe..." - "Really?! I beat out a single cell organism?! How flattering." -Q and Janeway
Rating: 7 (Cameron)
Stardate 50425.1: Synopsis in main VOY listing
It's many episodes rolled into one. The "lone crewmember takes on an external threat whilst the remainder of the crew are incapacitated in one way or another" script. Watching this you'd recall episodes like "Wink of an Eye", "Starship Mine", "Genesis", and episodes to follow like "One", "Extinction" and "Doctor's Orders", the episode even feels like "Aliens" with the obvious parallel of the infection of crewmembers leading to the births of new creatures from the hosts, and "Terminator 2", with Janeway looking similar to Sarah Connor as she battles her way through the ship.
Despite that though it's still a somewhat fun though shallow episode. It's well paced and felt longer than the standard 45 minute episode.
After completing talks with an alien race, Janeway and Neelix return to Voyager to find it adrift. Venturing on board the pair find the corridors deserted and main power failing with an ominous threat of an alien lifeform on board. Neelix is attacked by one and taken, leaving Janeway to fend for herself. She's bitten by a small insect and makes her way to sickbay after transmitting a distress call.
The Doctor relays to her the story of how Voyager responded to the hails of an alien mining colony infected with a virus. After beaming back from investigating, the Doctor realises the virus is now on the ship and it spreads till the crew is incapacitated.
The Doc though has developed a cure but the ship is attacked by the same race at the start of the episode who claim to have "purified" the mining colony and are now set to do it again to Voyager. Janeway pleads with them to give her a chance as a cure has been developed she is willing to share. She then lures the creatures into the holodeck, and throws in an "antigen bomb", boom, aliens killed, and a happy ending is had by all. Except for the miners who were brutally exterminated by the Tak Tak, but not mention is made of this heinous action, poor bastards. The attack by the Tak Tak (say that 10 times fast) wasn't really needed though and seemed thrown in just to pad the episode out by an extra minute and attempt to add yet more tension into an already desperate situation.
It's an exciting episode but no more, nothing deep or profound, an excercise in appealing to the baser instincts of the viewer whilst throwing the sci-fi crowd a bone in the "macrovirus" being based in the realms of science fiction (we'd hope). The cinematography is good with the darkened and empty corridors of Voyager being foreboding and all, Mulgrew looks to have had fun. An ok episode, but nothing more.
Remarkable continuity: After being attacked by a macrovirus, Janeway tells Neelix he has fluid in his lungs, he corrects her stating "lung", after he lost both in "The Phage" and had 1 donated by Kes.
Nitpicking: To test the macrovirus antigen, the Doctor has Kes lower a forcefield so he can inject the creature with it, couldn't he walk through it being a hologram?
Remarkable quote: "As for the larger versions of the virus - what I have termed the macrovirus - I would suggest a flyswatter." -The Doctor
Rating: 4 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Neelix lets his paranoid delusions force him into criminal undertakings in an effort to save himself from a perceived 'plank walk' if they find out his knowledge of the Delta Quadrant ended at the Nekrit Expanse. What was he expecting though, really? Did he seriously consider that Janeway would've told him to jump ship? He had made a life for himself on the ship, his being 'guide' was hardly that deciding a factor in keeping him on ship, from what we saw there was the odd episode where he pointed out a brief summation of a system or a peoples who Voyager would encounter, ok, that was helpful at times. But in all honesty there was no way Neelix's ideas of being kicked off ship were justified. But we see him with all endeavour try to pick up more tasks to do in an effort to apply himself in other ways to the ship. Seeing Neelix was introduced as some kind of 'jack of all trades', it's surprising his roles hadn't ventured outside of cooking and being a pain. This guy was a scavenger treading a fine line of survival through the 'perilous' Delta Quadrant for a long time before Voyager turned up, Voyager may have been a powerful ship, but I thought some of his tricks for survival may have come into play at some stage before now.
But that aside it's not a terrible episode, it's just not that darned special either. I liked the station, it had that cross-cultural alien feel about it (Bahrat's office at least, the remainder of the station just looked like a minor redress of the prison station from 'The Chute') with all its alien occupants. The visual impact of the Nekrit expanse is impressive too, surely a precedent for the Delphic Expanse later seen in Season 3 of Enterprise. Neelix is also surprisingly "bad-ass" when taunting Tosin to fire with the leaking plasma container in his hand, and Janeway is equally impressive when dressing Neelix down in the final scene. The story is semi-plausible and at least the element of drug-trafficking is brought in with real-world comparisons.
And why Kes wasn't in this one Bernd asks? Well by this stage the pair had broken up. His relationship with Wix was developed long before he met her, and it was a story more about his fears, and his insecurities which he clearly had no interest in discussing with anyone else. I bet Kes would've blabbed to the Captain anyway...
Rating: 4 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Voyager listing.
It makes sense that we would eventually get to the extreme edge of "known space" from the Talaxian perspective. And so it also makes sense the Neelix would eventually be faced with a choice. Aside from Kes, everyone else on Voyager is on a journey home. Neelix, by contrast, is traveling in the opposite direction. Now that Voyager is leaving Neelix’s home space forever, he ought to be deciding whether he really wants to leave everything behind forever or whether he should get back in his little ship and go his own separate way.
Neelix’s apparent recent break-up with Kes (VOY: "Warlord") muddy his motives for staying with Voyager. Sure, he’s made a lot of friends, but how close are any of these relationships? Who is Neelix staying on the ship to be with? Tuvok? Is he really prepared to go the rest of his life without ever seeing another female Talaxian?
We might expect that Neelix’s reunion with Wixiban ("Wix"), an old friend and fellow Talaxian, would spark this very question. Instead, Wix serves as a mirror for what Neelix may once have been. Wix is a scavenger and an opportunist who is willing to smuggle drugs and to steal in order to get by. Worse, he’s not a successful scavenger --- his shuttle has been impounded for non-payment of debt.
Viewing Wix’s life seems to make Neelix absolutely desperate. The question he ponders not whether he’s willing to abandon his home space. Instead he asks himself if he has any value to the Voyager crew at all (now that he is no longer of any use as a guide), and, if not, how he could possibly live without his chef job, his plush quarters, and his holodeck rations.
After Neelix follows Wix’s lead and gets caught in the middle of some foolish and illegal schemes, we almost have to agree with his insecure self-assessment. Why is Captain Janeway letting this guy stay on the ship? Within the first few days of getting stuck in the Delta Quadrant, she chose to integrate a couple of aliens permanently into her crew. In doing so, she surely broke Starfleet regulations due to the extenuating circumstances of being so far from home. But if it was a good idea, why hasn’t she occasionally picked up additional aliens along the way? It might not have hurt to add a handful of additional skilled crewmembers from friendly species, especially where skill sets are in short supply (e.g., the medical department).
There may be a host of other valuable crewmembers available in the Delta Quadrant, but the one we have is Neelix. And it looks like we’re stuck with him.
Deleted scene: When Kes broke up with Neelix a few episodes previously (VOY: "Warlord"), she was actually under the possession of the alien entity Tieran. It was therefore not clear if she had really broken up with him or her words were Tieran's. However, if it was Tieran, he words rang remarkably true as something Kes might have said; it's hard to believe he had such quick mastery of her memories and how to use them to fool and manipulate Neelix. In order to provide closure, an additional scene between the two was filmed as part of "Fair Trade," but was cut for time.
Rating: 3 (John Hamer)
Stardate 50460.3: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Another dullish and uninteresting episode saved by Tim Russ' great acting. Alter Ego talks about the loneliness of people, the loneliest of Kim, of Tuvok and Marayna. Kim's situation, I actually don't find it that implausible. What we knew of him so far was he was a bookish sort of nerd who certainly had more trouble fitting in than the jovial Tom Paris, without his girlfriend back in San Francisco to keep him company, I could foresee him garnering that sort of affection for a holo-character. 70 years from home, maybe none of the woman on board are interested or single or whatever, what choice does one have? Deny what little opportunity there is for SOME kind of companionship only the holodeck offered? It's a real world parallel to the way people take solace in computer games and 'online persona's' in an effort to escape their real world situations which they aren't particularly fond of. And I also understand Kim's frustration, finding myself in somewhat of a similar position lately, I wouldn't be too happy if the lady of my interest would without warning started hanging around another guy. Jealousy is a powerful emotion, and while Kim may not have been right to have spoken to Tuvok the way he did, it was certainly the most human thing to have done, if not the most mature thing.
Tim Russ, yep, solid performance like always, can't say much more than that. It's not an episode that asked alot of him like in 'Meld', but the subtlety in which he plays this part, making the character seem so, well, I hesitate to say 'human', but giving his character more depth than any other clichéd Vulcan seen since Spock.
What I may have liked though, have Marayna the last of her people or something, the fact that she had the opportunity to return to her society kind of robbed that sort of tragedy about her situation akin to that of exiled and eternally lonely Zarabeth in "All Our Yesterdays" to which this episode is compared. And I think we could've done without the usual threats to destroy the ship and kill the crew, it's a bit sad they couldn't find a way around that somehow to make it so predictable.
Rating: 5 (Cameron)
Stardate 50518.6: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Janeway dies a couple of times, has to fend off an evil alien posing as her dead-ghost father intent on bringing her into his 'Matrix', who she fends off successfully.
That's it. It's got some good acting and some interesting scenes though, like the multiple 'deaths' of Chakotay and Janeway in the shuttle or at the hands of Vidiians or otherwise. Kes' powers come into play in an effort to find the Captain, Tuvok notes that Janeway must be dead after Kes fails and that he has lost a dear friend, and B'Elanna gives a nice speech at her 'funeral' in the mess hall.
But it's all reset, they could've followed through with it all! It would've at least validated alot of the words spoken of her by the crew about what she meant to them, but instead it's all taken back. No harm would've come from allowing the episode to proceed in 'real time' circumstances. So it's an alright episode acting wise, and we get some background into Janeway's family, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Remarkable dialogue: "Maybe I could stand with an apple on my head and you could phaser it off." - "Sounds great. If I miss, I get to be Captain." -Janeway and Chakotay, discussing the latter's possible contribution to Neelix's Talent Night
Rating: 6 (Cameron)
Stardate 50614.2 : Synopsis in main VOY listing
Shuttle Crasher Chuckles is on another away mission surveying the Nekrit Expanse when a distress call brings him and disposable Voyager crewmember #334 to a planet. They are attacked and said Ensign is killed. Chakotay is nursed back to health by a human, but discovers that she, along with the other inhabitants, are former Borg drones. The drones beamed to the surface when their cube was crippled in space, at first their individuality was liberating but old prejudices between races started to resurface, and efforts are made to re-establish the link between the former drones. Janeway doesn't like the idea and doesn't give it the go-ahead, but under influence from the 'Cooperative', Chakotay hijacks a shuttle, makes his way to the damaged cube and reactivates the doo-wacky necessary to make the connection work again.
There's of course a big question mark over that final issue and thankfully the episode doesn't sugar coat that. The 'Cooperative' only seem to number in the single figures if what we saw of them was to be believed, yet they, as Chakotay muses at the end, wanted to use the re-established link to assert their ideals over a colony of thousands. Does that make them any better than the Borg despite their good intentions? I'm not sure. They may have just been a small group of people who wanted control over a violent population and would do anything to attain that ideal, and one wonders how the remaining inhabitants who didn't want this link will cope now that it has been enforced.
There's both a few pros but also a couple of nitpicks here, the idea behind something like the 'Cooperative' was nice and when we have a human like Frazier and the Romulan Orum working together it's good. I also liked the scene where Chakotay is linked to the Cooperative mind to have his injuries healed, we pass from one member to another and each person's voice joins in a chorus of the familiar Borg Collective voice we've heard before. There's also a fair chunk of dialogue in the first act hinting at the truth behind the means by which these people got to the planet (Frazier talking of many Alpha Quadrant species being forcibly relocated to the Delta Quadrant by an alien race circa Wolf 359). But bringing in Wolf 359 is a problem and one that these writers of Borg-centric episodes can't seem to get over. It was already established in "The Best of Both Worlds" that following the massacre at Wolf 359, the Borg cube went directly to Earth and was subsequently destroyed. "First Contact" already tried to establish the Borg Queen was present on that cube and tried to brush away its destruction by giving her the convoluted line of humans 'thinking in small 3-dimensional terms', inferring some sort of time-travel or interdimensional travel was used to explain her escape. Now again, and following on in the episode "Infinite Regress", we have a Starfleet officer who claimed to have been assimilated at Wolf 359. So how did THEY get back to the Delta Quadrant? It's not going to keep me awake at night wondering, and it's certainly not the biggest inconsistency in Star Trek, but it's still an annoyance when this battle is referenced and used to explain the appearance of human and other Alpha Quadrant species as Borg in the Delta Quadrant as if there were no other means of explanation, but anyway!
It probably would have been a better episode had the motivations of the Cooperative been slightly more noble, and more was at stake than their own small groups safety, I'm not heartless to their plight, but as I said, we only saw a VERY small group in this collective and no more, who were they to determine the societal structure in a colony of thousands? Maybe though that's the biggest twist of all, that they truly were not so noble, and just wanted to exercise their dominance over the rest of the colony. So ambiguous I'll probably give it a 6.
Remarkable fact: This episode was directed by Robert Duncan McNeill.
Useless goldshirts killed: 1
Shuttlecraft lost: 1
Rating: 6 (Cameron)
Stardate 50693.2 : Synopsis in main VOY listing
From the clutches of the obsessive and over-protective Neelix, to the clutches of the obsessive alter-ego of the Doctor. Darkling is a typical Jekyll and Hyde story with nothing more to offer, and what it offers is poor and disappointing.
The Doctor is experimenting in improving his program and downloads aspects from various scholars, philosophers and scientists into his program, unwittingly unleashing an alter ego of all the darker traits of those people. Voyager meanwhile is orbiting a planet inhabited by nomads willing to offer directions and the chance to mine some precious mineral I'm sure will be quickly forgotten once the ship leaves orbit. Kes has quickly become infatuated with a local and considers leaving in light of her short life spent on Voyager and the path before her becoming unclear due to her increasing mental abilities.
The Doc becomes jealous and it doesn't take rocket scientist to work out he attacks the object of Kes' desires. Due to the program destabilising as it has no room for two personalities, he considers torturing Torres who can't help, and irrationally does the same to the characters from his holoprogram. How they were meant to give him the answers he was seeking is beyond me. Kes shows up and he kidnaps her to the planet. However in an attempt to escape the pair are beamed back to Voyager and the alter-ego miraculously vanishes and all traces are deleted.
I'd say normally an episode like this would be saved by an individual performance, but Robert Picardo acts like an amalgamation of every Snidley Whiplash villain and evil-doer in existence. Explaining away this turn in personalities was due to the suppressed rage inside so many historical figures didn't make much sense either. The whole thing was just a showcase for the Doctor to run around and sneer, yell and wave a phaser around at everyone.
And it's hardly a mystery at all, if there was a chance at redeeming this episode it could have been done by not making it so blatantly obvious what was happening so early on to try and draw SOME suspense from the episode, leaving the revelation to the last act.
Remarkable laziness: Surely the Mikhal are the laziest designed aliens bar the ones from "Time and Again" and the Sikarians from "Prime Factors" in that they look almost indistinguishable from Bajorans.
Remarkable wardrobe/props: Kes wears a catsuit in this episode and future ones, foreshadowing Seven of Nine's infamous wardrobe? Robert Picardo wears contact lenses and prosthetic teeth in scenes as the Doctor's alter ego.
Rating: 1 (Cameron)
Stardate 50537.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Blood Fever: It's all about sex, people! Yay, for once this issue which was normally brushed over in the much more conservative series TOS and TNG makes a rare reappearance and in good fashion. While we may not have that much interest in Vorik considering how new of a character he is (only being introduced in recent episodes), we still got the feeling something was going on between Tom and B'Elanna. This episode is the catalyst for their relationship, and wow do the actors make it convincing. Meanwhile Vorik is offered up a holographic Vulcan babe as an alternative to satisfy his urges, and at the same time the Doctor provides good yet bordering on creepy comic relief as he relishes the chance to study the mating habits of other cultures. The C-plot regarding the natives isn't too much of a burden, and it's nice for once the hostage taking aliens are actually co-operative and hear out Chakotay's plan.
I'm not too sure what the deal is with 'transferring' of Pon Farr, it seems something unnecessary in Vulcan culture. Saavik didn't need it to mate with a young Spock in "The Search for Spock", and I don't think I'd need much convincing to mate with some hot alien chick and wouldn't need some extra 'zing' to get the job done. But anyway, it was necessary to the plot and isn't so problematic it isn't worth dwelling upon too much.
So actually, a surprisingly entertaining episode.
Remarkable dialogue: "I'll get to work designing the half-Klingon version of the program. There's a copious amount of information in the cultural database about their mating practices. Did you know that fracturing a clavicle on the wedding night is actually considered a blessing on the marriage?" - "As a matter of fact, I didn't." -The Doctor and Captain Janeway, discussing the holographic pon farr treatment
Remarkable dialogue #2: "So, this is the part where you throw heavy objects at me?" - "Maybe later." -Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres
Remarkable quote: "For such an intellectually enlightened race, Vulcans have a remarkably Victorian attitude about sex!" -The Doctor
Rating: 7 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: The Doctor wishes to improve his personality with elements of different great historical figures, resulting in the dark characteristics of all of them creating a new evil consciousness for the Doctor. Meanwhile, Kes becomes attracted to an alien adventurer, who is attacked by the evil Doctor.
Star Trek meets Star Wars! Episode Voyager: The rise, fall, and redemption of Darth Doctor. While the premise might seem absurd on the surface, the Doctor experimenting with adding personality to his program, the parallels to Star Wars could not be more obvious: The Doctor's experimentation is essentially his quest for greater ability and power, and the unforeseen personality emerging from the chaos is the Doctor's fall to the Dark Side. Not to mention the dark brown/black robes the evil personality is wearing, identical to those of a Dark Jedi. All that was missing was a red lightsaber on his belt. As Darth Doctor, he attacks Zahiir because he is jealous of Kes's attraction to him (therein lies one remarkable error of this episode which I will return to later), coerces the cantina owner to arrange passage for him offworld, tries to excise the "weak" Doctor's program from the matrix, and finally takes Kes with him as his "apprentice". Clearly he hopes to "turn" her as well, and seduce her to his point of view, exactly what emperor Palpatine did to Anakin Skywalker in Episode 3. In this case, however, the gambit fails, and, cornered on the edge of the abyss, and with his control over the holomatrix deteriorating, he does what all villains do rather than face defeat: tries to commit suicide, taking his "apprentice" with him. However, unsurprisingly, Voyager crew beams him and Kes back in the nick of time, and by the time they rematerialize on the transporter stage, the dark hold over him is gone, and his redemption is complete. Robert Picardo's performance as Darth Doctor is the highlight of this episode, he clearly had a lot of fun playing the evil villain. The ending, however, left me quite disappointed, since it would have been far more interesting if Doctor and Kes actually made it offworld, and played a game of cat and mouse with Voyager as Darth Doctor begins his quest for power, and even manages to partially "turn" Kes, before they are both redeemed in the final climactic struggle... Naturally, that plot would have required a two-parter episode, which would have been ideal, and of course, it would give Jennifer Lien a chance to play a character which would have been somewhat similar to the one in "Warlord" episode, where she really shined as the evil dictator!
And so, my final resume is this: the premise of the episode and its Star Wars innuendos: 10. The VERY unsatisfactory ending: -3. The Remarkable Error: -2. The Doctor's robes: +1 Final tally: 6/10.
Remarkable error: The Doctor attacks Zahiir on the planet surface, which obviously means he had to teleport down first, which would have undoubtedly set off alarms on Voyager, and alerted the bridge, like what happened when he and Kes beamed down, Harry was immediately alerted. And then, after the attack, he obviously beams back up, again without raising any alarms, returns to Sickbay and has to be reactivated when Kes comes in to inform him of the "accident" Zahiir had. Outrageously absurd!!!
Remarkable apparel: Darth Doctor's robes, of course! They look EXACTLY like something a Sith would wear. Perfect menacing design and colour scheme!
Rating: 6 (Darko)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
This is actually my favorite of the Neelix/Tuvok episodes ("Tuvix" doesn't quite count in my opinion), it's got mystery, action, a race against time, a couple of good laughs and more character development for the pair in question.
This time though, Neelix holds the cards and uses it to his advantage, to get the point across he's sick of Tuvok's attitude and demands respect for him, while still being humble about his admiration for the Vulcan. In turn, Tuvok risks his life to act on Neelix's 'hunch' and in turn, his life is saved by the Talaxian. And so they become a little chummier in the end, though Tuvok still not yielding to Neelix in the final scene in the mess hall. To support this story, a planet is being bombarded by asteroids, Tuvok, Neelix and a native scientist are sent down to help retrieve another scientist. It's all the usual twists and turns you can expect, and Voyager once more saves the day, through their miraculous gaining of a hostile force's tactical information.
But that's all background noise, and Tim Russ and Ethan Phillips are really good once more. Phillips normally plays Neelix as a buffoon, but here we see he has something to prove and doesn't turn into a clown in doing so, and his efforts are rewarded with Tuvok's praise.
I understand it's not a highly regarded episode nor do I think it's something so incredible and up there with the best of Trek, but I do find it a better than average offering, at least better than the 6/10 rating I've given it would indicate.
Remarkable dialogue #1: "Where are you going? You don't even know what you're looking for." - "I am looking for Mr. Neelix's instinct. Perhaps it is marked." -Lillias and Tuvok (referring to the item Dr. Vatm mentioned on the roof)
Remarkable dialogue #2: "You always have to get in that last word, don't you?" - "I am simply responding to your erroneous statement." - "Something tells me you just hate to lose an argument." - "Losing is irrelevant." - "See what I mean?" - "No. I do not." -Neelix and Tuvok
Remarkable quote: "You built...models?" -Tuvok, on discovering Neelix had no knowledge of real Mag-lev carriages, but only built models in his youth.
Rating: 6 (Cameron)
Stardate 50732.4: Synopsis in main VOY listing
I suppose they needed to give Kim something, ANYTHING (!) to do by this point in time. It's such a bore though, the entire ploy by the Taresians is absolute nonsense in the way they need to propagate their species by 'infecting' males from OTHER species, changing their genetic structure to make them Taresian. It's just stupid, if they've been able to master genetic reconstruction to such a stage, surely it mustn't be too hard for them to just add a Y chromosome to a developing cell/fetus/whatever at a rate that would sustain their population, rather than leave it to chance the way they do.
But it's also painfully non-interesting, sure it's appealing with all the eye candy on show, but it's really predictable and the conflict with the other species is nothing out of the ordinary. Bad, predictable episode.
And consider my 3 rating generous!
Rating: 3 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Wondered when they would do a spin on the Sirens story from the Iliad.
Basically Kim feels drawn to a system, fires on an alien ship, and then discovers he maybe a long lost native of that system - and guess what? It's populated by GIRLS! Not alien girls, GIRLS - with odd but sexy markings in sexy clothes.
As expected, the girls have no men, and surprise, surprise that has led to a breeding problem where men are "imported" for their needs. However in the tradition of Siren stories, they are discovered to be dangerous and kill the men they woo. Kim figures out this way earlier with his "dedication to the crew" statement and their reluctance to let him go, and makes a break - and just when it seems he is in dire straits - Voyager rescues him, and that's it. Although the way Kim changes was explained it did not help a lame story come to pass.
It's a yawn, and like with so many Voyager stories of that time, it came, it did its pointless job and went. Would have been nice if the girls had really pissed off some alien with their scheme and they came for a 'quiet word', but nothing that bold or interesting happens. It's hostile alien this, hostile world that, and hero on the verge of being beaten whisked away at the last moment.
It's also rather sad that these actors have to put up with rubbish like this - Garrett Wang wanted to do more yet TPTB cannot get over the hurdle to do humans with flaws or traits. It's a disgrace.
3/10 Not brilliant, not bad, but not worth watching again.
Remarkable backstory 1: The original concept was that Kim was going to be a hibernating alien, that he was not human after all. Garrett Wang liked the idea because it gave his character something more because human characters lacked character(!). However numerous voices and opinions turned the idea from Kim being an alien to Kim being infected by some alien spore. Explains the weak story and sudden change in the plot...
Remarkable backstory 2: Marvin Rush who did this episode was very careful not to turn this episode into something titillating and had the girls based on Geishas - smart, stylish, intelligent, but stunning to captivate men, but not to be loose or lewd.
Rating: 3 (Chris S)
Before and After
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
This episode once more proves that time travel and alternate realities normally yield great episodes when used as subject matter, and the unlikely protagonist is Kes, as she travels from lifetime to lifetime trying to find the answers. It's fun and it takes the time to show a plausible alternate reality to the one that will follow, where Chakotay is Captain, Tuvok is Commander, the Doctor has hair (!). The usual technobabble is employed to explain away the phenomena, but keeps well with potential story lines like the first appearance of the Krenim and their usage of temporal weaponry. And the consistency with the Doctor's ego is quite funny as I believe 3 times he refers to the bio-temporal chamber treatment as either 'brilliant' or 'ingenious'.
I guess this cold I'm suffering from is taking its toll cause I really seem to elaborate more, look, it's a simple episode, it's got a nice performance from Jennifer Lien in the main role, and I think it succeeds well, even from a story point of view, with successful character observations of the people surrounding Kes, from the Doctor to her 'husband' (Tom) to her daughter.
Remarkable alien physiology: Just when we thought Kes' ears were the only discerning feature between her and humans, well are we in for a shock to discover there's some sort of 'pouch' or 'sack' in her back from which she gives birth.
Remarkable facts: In the possible future seen the Doctor takes a name (Van Gogh) and has hair. Chakotay is promoted Captain following the death of Janeway. Tuvok is Commander, Paris is elevated to Lt. Commander as is Harry to Lieutenant. The ship also looks to have had holo-emitters installed throughout as evidenced by the Doctor seen to be outside of sickbay without his mobile-emitter.
Rating: 7 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
I was going to condemn this episode, but an ‘argument’ with a friend put a thought in my mind that made me look at this in a different - and better light. A light I think many should take a look at.
In a nutshell, as part of his "awareness to becoming human (sound familiar?)" the Doctor creates a family - to understand what family life is like, as well as impress all that he has one. Alas they come across as the Partridge family, or the Brady bunch, or dare I say it - the Waltons - the perfect wife and 2.4 kids. B'Elanna is the most critical of this and points out the flaws of their overt perfections, to an amazed Doctor who cannot see the problem.
So to make it more 'real', B'Elanna is allowed to tweak them with random flaws - and the net result is a nightmare for the Doctor - gone is the perfect family and in its place is a dysfunctional one; the son associates with Klingon kids who attack strangers for ritualism, and listen to heavy rock type music - think white kid with black gangster into lewd hip hop and about guns and 'homies' and you get the idea. The wife is consistently pointing out his failings, and his daughter is upset because he does not take her seriously.
Then it all takes a turn for the worse when the daughter is injured in an accident and to his horror she is going to die - and there is nothing that can be done.
What I did not like about the episode so much was that this was nothing more than a 'play' - these people unlike in real life, can be cured, altered, remoulded, shaped and so forth with no ill effect, and the fact that they never ever appear again emphasise the fact. The loss of the daughter had little impact on me because she is a computer program - this may sound harsh, but be honest, we never ever see this family again. We never see the Doctor pick up from this, see his son mature or arrested, or his wife standing by or leaving. It's *emotional scene* and 'call it a wrap' - a case of "we needed a tear jerker, now its done - okay, let's concentrate on the next installment". Nor the tweaking by B'Elanna; just because she had a crap family life, does not mean she should inflict her drama on the Doctor's fantasy. It felt like she was being vindictive, even spiteful, and I have never liked her, and this just accelerated the process. Having said that he did ask for it...
Also the crap B plot about the hurricane in space - and Janeway's attitude to the destruction of the space station and planned hunting down of the attackers in question to the blatant glory hunting of this new phenomenon by literally risking all in a bid of some personal success. Hence the loss of points.
However, my friend then pointed out a thing about this episode - that made me see this differently. A very valid metaphor on families.
People who want kids and family envision that if one follows the books, heed the advice, and so on, they can get the perfect life with the ideal partner, and wonderful children - kids doing well, partner successful, one is the winner, and content in the world. Just like the Doctor thought here.
In truth, families can fail - kids can die, disappoint, even inflict death. Partners can fall out of love, have affairs, leave, even betray. It happens. Robert Picardo's acting (which is on top form) as the Doctor struggling with the family perfect becoming anything but and realising what a task it is - I did sympathise and wanted to throttle his son and kill his Klingon friends.
Tom's speech at the end sums it up well, and it's a lesson I think those who are planning to have a family should heed: be prepared for the worse as well as the best, and if you are not in for the long haul, the disappointments and failures, don't have a family.
As the saying goes - "you can pick your friends, but not your family".
5/10 - half good weighted out by half bad.
Thoughtful dialogue: "You created that program so you could experience what it's like to have a family. The good times and the bad. You can't have one without the other." - "I fail to see why not." - "Think about what's happened to us here aboard Voyager. Everyone left people behind, and everyone suffered a loss. But look how it's brought us all closer together. We found support here, and friendship, and we've become a family, in part because of the pain we share. If you turn your back on this program, you'll always be stuck at this point. You'll never have the chance to say goodbye to your daughter. Or to be there for your wife and son when they need you. And you'll be cheating yourself out of their love and support. In the long run, you'll miss the whole point of what it means to have a family." -Paris and The Doctor
Remarkable fact: The hurricane was based on a Hubble picture of the first found black hole with its distinctive plumes - and someone pointed out - it looked like a hurricane in space - alas, the overall idea was executed with the drama of lead.
Rating: 5 (Chris S)
Stardate 50836.2: Synopsis in main VOY listing
The touching A-story really drives this episode despite the flaws that it has. The Doctor creates a holographic family for himself to experience what it is like to have such a thing. Only problem is he's created the perfect Stepford family, mindless beings worshipping the father figure like something out of a bad 50's sitcom. B'Elanna alters the program to create this family from hell to give the Doc a better idea of what it is like to have a REAL experience of family, with the over-worked wife not being able to have dinner on the table, the rebellious son and pre-teen daughter with a shriek so high pitched it would shatter transparent aluminium. Problem is, neither scenario is plausible, a balance could have been achieved, but Torres clearly didn't think the Doctor was experiencing so severe a taste of reality, she created a bunch of 'lollipops' of her own.
Despite that, the A-story is still good, Picardo does a very good job here as opposed to the recently reviewed "Darkling", as he deals with the pressure of trying to maintain control over this situation, and having to face the 'death' of his holographic daughter. So well done to him.
The B-plot is wholly disposable on the other hand and another example of Janeway's recklessness that it is HER the Doc should've chided as opposed to Paris who sets off in a shuttlecraft to try and harvest technobabble from a space anomaly which destroyed a space station and damaged Voyager. Despite the VERY obvious risks, Janeway decides to pursue investigating the anomaly, and very nearly loses her Conn officer as he's transported to a place between real and sub-space. And for what?
But anyway, that's not the important thing here, the Doc's story is and it was good, he wasn't overly smug as he was at the start of the episode and it was a good learning process for him, even if the scenario was a ridiculous exaggeration.
Remarkable quote #1: "No one has a family like this – this is a fantasy! You're not going to learn anything from living with these... lollipops." -B'Elanna Torres, to The Doctor
Remarkable quote #2: "You're in fine physical shape, Mr. Paris. You may go ahead and engage in this reckless activity." -The Doctor, to Tom Paris
Continuity: At the start of this episode Torres' is maintaining the Doctors program, most likely as a result of the events of "Darkling".
Rating: 6 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
I think Bernd's summed this one up well enough in his review, a fantastic episode in which almost the guest starts seem to out act the main cast! Not that the main cast is given much to do as the story is centered around Gegen and his fight against the establishment.
Not much more I could add, yes it's particularly bleak, but it ends on a great note, wonderful score, impressive FX, and once again the message of acceptance and tolerance is played out again despite it being played to an amazingly advanced civilisation, however one that like many others in Trek, are incredibly belligerent in spite of all their accomplishments.
Robert Beltran is particularly good here with the lines he has about change and so forth.
Remarkable quote: "Someday every Voth will see this as home." -Forra Gegen, to Chakotay while holding a globe of Earth
Rating: 10 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
I was really stunned by this episode - especially the subject matter in this show. The idea of another race evolving and even leaving Earth (heavy hints at Atlantis in the script) is good work. The best is the superiority of the Voth over the Voyager crew, and that all concerned act correct and proper for once. Janeway tried to show defiance to her captors but shown how hopeless she is.
There is compassion, and tolerance from the Voth explorers and the crew, I mean I am pleased thay Jinny tried to talk to Veer, and that chuckles did not try and kick in Gegen.
There are no attempts at being smugly clever, the acting is played right, especially the scenes of discovery in the holodeck, and the courtroom with Chakotay, Gegen, and the Magistrate, and the discussion on theory - as Bernd pointed out = "Galileo's daring yet unsuccessful struggle for his theory in particular and for the freedom of science in general", well played out here.
This is science fiction at its best.
The only glitch in this is what Bernd said about the Voth, that "they should not come back as enemies" or maybe left in peace, but a series like Trek could never discard such a race and its significance. The fact that they never ever touched on them again maybe the latter or future stories around them deemed unworkable, one can only speculate.
Having said that considering the fact that Star Trek 09 has come to pass, I think this is the last we will ever hear of the idea.
Remarkable fact: Brannon Braga is extremely proud of this episode: "It was one episode that was just about perfect. The acting, the effects, and the directing... It was a very complex [and] ambitious show that really turned out great." Just about - hence 9/10.
Remarkable ship: Voth homeship - interior reminds me of V'ger. Good SFX for the time.
Rating: 9 (Chris S)
Stardate 50912.4 : Synopsis in main VOY listing
The Smurfs take over Voyager! I haven't held this episode in high regards but watching it again it's actually pretty fun. I HATE the Nyrians though and wish Janeway locked them all up to die but anyway.
An alien transports on Voyager in place of Kes, this continues quickly till the crew are outnumbered, Chuckles looks to sabotage the ship and get the Doc in his mobile emitter and is transported out also. The crew find themselves trapped on a ship filled with thousands of other prisoners abducted by the same means, and they improvise a fightback as only humans could cause every other alien species has either been too incompetent or complacent to try and escape.
I think it's good when episodes like this occur and the crew are taken out of their comfort zone, and literally as well, instead of relying on the cushy facilities of Voyager to glide through any problem. They all have to think on their feet to escape with Tuvok fashioning some makeshift weapons an! d Janeway discovering how to use the transporter and negotiate the release of her crew and all others from the prison ship.
There's the further recurrence of Tom and B'Elanna's growing relationship and we see pretty much all other chief characters play a role of some sort except for Harry.
Good fun for all pretty much, I didn't see too many failings behind the episode, though I never liked the Nyrians.
Remarkable dialogue: "I've reconfigured The Doctor's optical sensors and as soon as they're aligned he should be able to detect the microwave signature of the portals." - "Then I can begin my new career as a tricorder." -Torres and The Doctor on discussing a means of escape
Rating: 5 (Cameron)
Worst Case Scenario
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Another fun 'trapped in the holodeck' episode here, the opening 20 minutes taking place almost entirely inside the Maquis mutiny program, giving us the opportunity to see what some might argue: 'should have been'.
The idea of a Maquis uprising being realistic to Tuvok was also a good chance to take this show in a plausible direction. A greenhorn Federation crew being placed together with belligerent terrorists (by Starfleet standards), who were only there thanks to the actions of Janeway... matter of fact, holo-Chakotay's entire speech in the cargo bay was something one would've expected to have heard if they decided to play out this scenario for real early in the season. However the idea was dismissed with the Maquis themselves receiving very little exposure in the show, and I'm guessing this episode was made solely to appease those who would've liked to have written or seen such a scenario take place.
But enough ranting, it's a great episode, the opening is cunningly realistic however if you have a keen eye and good memory you'll notice that not is all as it seems early on, of course B'Elanna's wearing a Starfleet Ensign's pip and doesn't work at her normal station, Janeway's hair is from the earlier seasons, and we can here Chakotay hail Jonas who was killed in the previous seasons episode "Investigations". And of course it takes the usual turn with Tuvok and Paris trapped, thanks to tampering by Seska who threatens to kill them, but the day's saved thanks to some narrative changes by Janeway.
Wonderfully fun episode.
Remarkable quote: "Under my command, we won't let almighty Federation principles get in the way of opportunities the way Janeway did when she destroyed the array that could have gotten us home. And we won't be wasting precious time stopping to investigate every insignificant anomaly that we come across. What we will do is use any means necessary to acquire technology that can shorten our journey. To hell with Starfleet regulations. You have fifteen minutes to make up your minds." -Chakotay hologram
Remarkable quote #2: "I guess we should have known Seska wouldn't let a little thing like death stop her from getting even." -Paris
Rating: 8 (Cameron)
Worst Case Scenario Stardate not given:
Synopsis in main VOY listing
Not a bad episode, simple, not flash, or OTT with some silly anomaly or time travel spiel.
It's an idea that would be engineered with good reason, and Tuvok's apprehension is well noted.
It works for me especially where it goes wrong. I agree with Bernd that rebels in the Star Fleet/Marquis ranks have nothing better to do than sabotage computer programs, but here it helps a simple story.
It's one of a handful of Voyager episodes I would make time for.
Remarkable scenes: The Doctor kicking in Tuvok; applying Nitric acid to Tom's wound; not real Seska killing the not real Chakotay, and Janeway. Finally Tuvok getting the better of Seska with a dodgy phaser rifle.
Rating: 9 (Chris S)
Scorpion, Part I Stardate 50984.3: Synopsis in main VOY listing
Wow, almost movie worthy! The full fledged return of the dreaded Borg, amazing special effects considering the budget, a brand new lethal foe for our intrepid crew (pun intended) to deal with, character conflict, the list goes on.
A great way to end the season with a bang introduces the new threat, Species 8472, who are, unfortunately amazingly bland in their limited depiction, cold, ruthless, spouting 'the weak will perish'? Understandably they needed a destructive force capable of inflicting damage to the Collective, but being just another alien of the week with very little way for them to convey a sense of reason to their actions was a mistake. This WILL be rectified in part II however, but not enough. Maybe a humanoid race from another realm taking on the Borg would've been more satisfying, but then again, their alien appearance only adds to their menace and shrouds their intentions in a way that couldn't be achieved with another humanoid race.
And finally some legit conflict with Chakotay and Janeway, and both have very real points to make regarding their plans, however Janeway in her optimism was taking the advice of Leo da Vinci to heart greatly in taking such a leap of faith to expect the Borg to co-operate, but she had the contingency of deleting the Doc's program (and once again displaying her death wish as this would only make her crew and ship the target of assimilation only to bolster the numbers and abilities of an ailing Collective, way to go Janeway.)
But it's Chakotay making the most amounts of hits with his argument that her decision was one of pure faith with little to no evidence that it would work. She quoted Picard earlier as saying how without mercy the Borg are, and are unwilling to compromise, now as they're being beaten she expects them to change tune. Along with putting her crew in jeopardy again for the sake of this proposed short cut, Chakotay also points out the very real fact of her giving aide to the Borg who had already destroyed countless civilisations while 8472's potential addition to the list is greeted with mirth by Janeway who doesn't even have the full facts on how this conflict occur ed and why.
And there's the irrelevant threat to Kim's life, as credible as it looks there's still little tension behind his fate as it was probably known that it would be Jennifer Lien who would leave the series, instead of Garret Wang.
Good set up for the second part, the premier of Season 4, Scorpion Part II, however I'll be unable to review it.
Rating: 8 (Cameron)