|Voyager Episode Reviews - Part 2|
|Written by Sharon Miller|
Ex Post Facto
This is the first episode that didn't really work for me. In some ways it reminded me of the TOS episode Wolf in the Fold, which is one of my least favourite TOS episodes of them all. Personally I just don't think Star Trek and murder mysteries work that well together.
Good things about the episode: It was nice to see Tuvok come to the fore for once. He handled the investigation well, and I loved the scene where the Doctor says that he wouldn't be able to understand the neurological report, because you just know that Tuvok would have understood every word of it! Some of that fierce Vulcan intellect is finally starting to shine through for me and, while he's still not one of my favourite characters yet, I am warming to him. My only complaint? I wanted to see him mind meld with the dog at the end to find out exactly what she'd seen!
As for Paris, I can accept that he's a womaniser, he's a 'bad boy' etc. but I just wouldn't have expected him to come onto the wife of someone who was helping Voyager. It wasn't quite as jarring as Wolf in the Fold (which was downright character assassination of poor Scotty in my opinion, implying that he had a 'problem with women' ) but I still felt it was just a step too far.
Oh, and Chakotay gets a whole five minutes or so of action *sigh*. But it was good action. I enjoyed seeing him revert to Maquis tactics, and it's nice that Janeway trusts him enough in a battle situation to let him take control. I'd have liked the battle scene to go on for a little bit longer.
So yeah, a good, but not a great episode.
What a sad episode. It was quite tragic to think that a whole race of people were killing themselves because they thought they would be going to someplace better, when actually they were destined to simply decompose on an asteroid. I thought the woman who played Ptara gave a great performance. I really felt her pain and fear and confusion at finding herself on a Starship instead of in the 'afterlife' with her loved ones, and then to discover that her loved ones were actually dead must have been devastating.
Harry came across as a bit of an idiot in this episode to be honest. I know he must have been scared and confused to find himself on this strange planet with these unknown people, but to blurt out what he'd seen on the asteroid without any thought as to how the information would affect people was really thoughtless, and surely an immense violation of the Prime Directive.
I also felt annoyed at how they were willing to revive Ptara without much thought as to how it would affect her, simply so they could get information out of her on where Harry was. I'm glad that Chakotay at least was aware of how important it was to respect these people's choices and the sanctity of their burials.
Hatil was quite a tragic character. Even though his family believed that he would be going 'someplace better', to want him to pass on simply because he was a burden to them was heartbreaking. It made me think about the euthanasia debate that rages here in our day and age.
The ending wasn't very satisfying for me. I'd like to have seen more about whether the Vhnori changed their opinions and practices in light of what Harry had told them, or if they simply continued sending their loved ones to their deaths. I didn't really buy Janeway's little speech at the end about the energy in the asteroid field possibly indicating an afterlife, it seemed a bit cheesy.
But on the whole it was an interesting episode, a fascinating concept and gave me a lot to think about.
I felt so bad for Janeway in this episode. She seemed completely crushed at the end that both Torres, and especially Tuvok, had gone behind her back. I'm starting to see hints now of the relationship between Janeway and Tuvok and it's wonderful. I love that he's her 'moral compass'. And as much as Vulcans ever allow themselves to care for anyone, you can tell that he really does care for his Captain. It was painful to see Janeway wrestling with the dilemma of whether to accept the technology or not, and her speech about whether she had the right to deny a quick way home to the crew because of her 'principles' was really moving. A fantastic performance from Mulgrew I thought.
The Sikarians were quite intriguing. It's an interesting concept, that a civilisation could be so technologically advanced, but by our standards mentally quite limited. I never did trust Gath though, he was a bit of a slimeball as far as I was concerned.
And check out Harry, the ladies man! I did find his 'euphoria' a bit embarrassing to watch though.
I really liked Torres in this episode too. You could see that she was torn between her loyalty to her Maquis friends, and her new position on Voyager. Janeway putting that much trust in her seems to have given her a lot of self pride, which is great. I knew Seska couldn't be trusted though (and I was proved right in the next episode!)
Alas, poor Chakotay was left out yet again. I would have been interested to see his reaction to Torres and Seska going behind the Captain's back.
State of Flux
Finally, a Chakotay-centric episode! And what do I learn in this episode? That he's a bit...well...boring to be honest. When I first saw Chakotay, in ‘Caretaker’ I remember being really excited by his character (I thought he'd end up being a bit of a Han Solo, charismatic rebel leader sort of person). At this point, I don't think I've seen enough to decide whether it’s the writing or the acting that’s at fault, but as a character he's incredibly dull and one note. Even when he finds out the truth about Seska he was so calm about it. I'd love to have seen him get angry, yell at her, something to show he has a bit of fire in his belly.
Apart from that complaint, it was a good episode, although I'm almost sad that they've dealt with Seska so soon, because she seemed like an interesting character, and I'd like to have seen further conflicts with her.
The 'whodunnit' angle was done well. At one point I really did believe that it was Carey that was responsible, and I felt sorry for Seska.
Not sure what I really make of the Kazon yet. They just don't seem particularly threatening. I mean, they back down just because they're yelled at by a woman? Lame! Although it was good to see Janeway kicking butt!
It was interesting to see two concurrent episodes both focussing on betrayal. I’m hoping this will be a key theme in Voyager, just like how loneliness was, for me, one of the key themes of TOS.
Heroes and Demons
What a fantastic episode for the character of the Doctor! Robert Picardo is a brilliant actor with a great sense of comic timing. The scene where he's telling the story of how he saved the crew from the measles, while chomping on an elk leg, was just brilliant and actually had me in stitches. It's easy to see why he's a favourite character for a lot of people, although I don't know how ironic it is that one of the most nuanced and 'real' characters on the show is the one who isn't actually real. It was a joy to see his natural curiosity at finding himself in new surroundings, how he stopped to examine the trees and flowers, how he reacted to his first kiss. Brilliant!
At the end, Janeway seemed to have developed a real sense of respect for him, which, considering a few episodes ago she was telling Kes that 'he's only a hologram', is wonderful.
Although I do have to say, considering that he can choose any name in the whole universe for himself, what kind of name is Schweitzer?!
I loved how they incorporated Beowulf into the episode. I've always loved how Trek references classic literature.
I also liked the concept of the photonic aliens. One thing that Trek has always done well is that they don't just create humanoid aliens, but they often think outside the box to come up with something truly alien in every sense of the word.
A nice opening with Janeway enjoying a bit of a holo-adventure. It's good to see that the Captain finds time to let her hair down on the holodeck as much as the rest of the crew.
So, onto the episode. And once again, poor, poor Chakotay. He finally gets to be a hero and save the ship...except it's just his spirit and his body is in a coma. Beltran must have been delighted reading the script for this one!
I liked the story though. It reminded me a lot of The Thing (which is one of my favourite films ever), the way the paranoia grew, and nobody trusted anyone else. I knew it was Tuvok though! Right from when the Doctor described Kes's injuries as damaging nerves in the neck, then in the next scene with Janeway, when she was talking about giving the authorisation codes to the crew, there was just something about the way he was acting that seemed 'off'. I actually found myself shouting at the TV "don't give the codes to Tuvok!"
This was another nice episode for the Doctor. It was great to see how much Janeway has grown to trust him, when she was prepared to give him the authorisation codes without a second thought. I loved his little speech when asked how he'd managed to get Chakotay's consciousness back into his body, how he'd write a paper if there was anywhere relevant to post it.
And character-wise it was a good episode for Chakotay too. It showed his loyalty to the ship and the crew, that he would try anything to save them, and also how mentally disciplined he is, that he could manage to direct his 'spirit' round the ship to help everyone.