My Voyager Rewatch: S4E21

Happy Star Trek Day! It’s been busy, but I didn’t want to let the day roll around to midnight without posting something. So here’s another installment of my Voyager Rewatch. It’s nice that we have an outstanding episode for Star Trek Day, one of my favorites from Season 4.

I might post something else apropos in a day or so, but the start of it is way back in my Twitter feed and the more you tweet the harder it is to find something filed in reverse chronological order.

In an interesting bit of synergy, I realized that today is also the fourth anniversary of this blog. If you’re interested in my first post, you can find it here, “All in Color for Forty Dimes.” That’s a glorious start to a deluge of nonsense with occasional insights here and there.

So, without further ado, “The Omega Directive!” Let’s go!

My #StarTrekVoyager rewatch S4E21 “The Omega Directive.”

There’s an actual funny moment over a kal-toh game. That’s a good sign after some mediocre episodes. This looked like it would be a Seven-heavy episode; then it went sideways. There’s a real sense of mystery. Nothing is dumb so far.

“The omega phenomenon” has been detected within 1.2 light-years. “All other priorities have been rescinded.” Janeway’s locked in her ready room… the crew are being given puzzling orders on a “need to know” basis… so far, this is excellent.

The Borg know about the “Omega Molecule,” and of course, Seven and Janeway have radically different ideas about what to do. Turns out the kal-toh game in the teaser was a nice bit of foreshadowing. There’s a powerful scene between Janeway & Chakotay. As we’ll see, this needs everybody.

Okay, the technobabble explanation is dumb but can be ignored. The stakes are high, and tension rises. “For the duration of this mission, the Prime Directive is rescinded.” This is like Genesis. Later: “The Final Frontier has some boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed.”

Seven designates a crewman as “3 of 10.” Chilling, but it doesn’t play out as I expected. Another powerful scene with Seven and a survivor. Another perspective on the crisis: his people need the energy from the Omega molecule to survive.

Ahhh! Blue light!

Seven has a perspective on Omega from her time as a Borg. She views it as perfect with almost religious fervor. But she follows Janeway’s lead anyway. That’s real development. The climax is exciting and well done. But the spiritual stuff at the end is too simplistic and abrupt, marring an otherwise Great episode.

Nonetheless, this one is an exemplar. It’s a good story and depends on Voyager’s journey through the Delta Quadrant. The show needs more episodes like this and fewer things that seem like rejected TNG scripts.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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My Voyager Rewatch: S4E05

My #StarTrekVoyager rewatch S4E05 “Revulsion”

This is the episode that derailed me last year. The entire thread disappeared into the aether and It was so bad that I couldn’t revisit it too soon. Now though, here we go!

A short teaser. A hologram hides a body, cleans up a crime scene & sends a distress call.

A testimonial for Tuvok: fake laughter at unfunny stories. Annoying. But Tuvok gets promoted; like he hadn’t already worn the rank pins for lieutenant commander for a bunch of episodes. Why is the Vulcan the only funny one?

Then Paris and Torres are cringy. “You must have been suffering from oxygen deprivation to say you loved me!” Ugh!

In other tedious bits of bookkeeping Voyager finally gets the distress signal. The Doctor is ecstatic to meet another hologram. It’s obvious that Dejaren, who calls himself an isomorph, is dangerously unstable.

They hit us over the head with it. Our away team spends too much time talking about how dangerous the isomorph is then the doctor teaches the homicidal hologram how to control the ship. Genius!

“Spectrum” though is a great name for a holographic goldfish. That’s the high point.

The show is trying to do a bit of horror that doesn’t work very well.

The B story with Seven and Kim is mildly amusing at the end but not nearly worth the trouble of getting there. Janeway and Neelix disappear less than 8 minutes into the episode. The rest is a bunch of scenes cut together with only two cast members. Occasionally three. The episode seems designed to give some people a week off. It might have been preferable to give everyone a week off including the audience.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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My Voyager Rewatch: S4E20

My #StarTrekVoyager rewatch S4E20 Vis à Vis

The holodeck is getting tiresome; we watch Paris play auto mechanic as the Doctor berates him about his duties in Sickbay. Tom is being a pain in the ass and there’s nothing about how the ship was torn apart over the last two episodes.

The alien ship is powered by a “coaxial warp drive.” Paris says it can allow a ship to travel huge distances instantaneously but I think it’s about free cable. But keeping with the mechanic motif, Paris has a technobabbley way to save the alien ship. Also the budget must be improving because the alien has more latex on his forehead than usual.

Tom’s also being a misanthrope again. Why not go back to that well? The coaxial drive “draws in subatomic particles and reconfigures their internal geometries.” It’s like they’re not even trying.

Now Tom’s being an ass to B’Elanna. Was there any clue about this coming? Because it seems like bad writing. Practically halfway through the episode and I realize the alien is Bulldog from Frazier. This was a too slow build to something that is essentially “Face Off.”

But Vis à Vis literally means “Face to Face” so no surprise there. I suppose that Tom being an ass created the opportunity for “Tom” to move around Voyager undetected, but it all feels awkward and false.

This might have been slightly more interesting if “Tom” had switched bodies with Janeway while they were in the same room together. Huh. That’s what happened but it’s still not very interesting. That’s it. Everyone gets back in their own bodies and Tom makes up with B’Elanna. Everything is reset to normal with no consequences. Again. Meh.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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My Voyager Rewatch: S4E19

My #StarTrekVoyager rewatch S4E19 The Killing Game Part 2

Last time: the Hirogen had taken over the ship and were forcing the crew to act out scenarios from Earth’s history. A WWII fantasy is about to escape the holodeck into the rest of the ship. I wasn’t impressed with part 1. Hopefully, this one is better.

In a metaphor for the show’s the new status quo, Janeway & Seven know what’s going on. Everybody else is little better than a side character. The head Hirogen, who thinks holodeck tech is the key to saving his race from extinction is tying everyone else’s hands.

Along the way, there’s a nice character moment with Janeway and Chakotay but only sort of because Chakotay doesn’t know who he is. According to Paris, Nazis are “totalitarian fanatics bent on world conquest — the Borg of their day.” Ugh.

Janeway’s alone with the lead Hirogen. If this is true Trek, she’ll offer to help his plan to stop extinction. She strikes the deal. ✔

Too much time left for that to be the end. The other Hirogen must rebel. They do. ✔

But not without a pep talk first from a holographic Nazi.

Soon the one Hirogen who’s not a complete idiot is dead. The species is doomed, but not before a lot of tedious conflict. The pacing is terrible. There’s a subplot in Holodeck One with some Klingons but it doesn’t advance the story. It’s filler that provides screen time for the Doctor & Neelix.

Neelix is a ridiculously bad Klingon. Eventually, the Klingons kill some of the Nazis. That’s not too bad. Finally, there’s a truce. Janeway gives the Hirogen holodeck tech which is probably useless without the smart one.

The Hirogen, like the Nazis, are headed for the dustbin of history. There’s more action in Part 2 but it’s not interesting. What might have been one decent episode is ruined by filler as it’s stretched to two. Must have been fun to write though. I hope the writers had more fun than I.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

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My Voyager Rewatch: S4E18

My #StarTrekVoyager rewatch S4E18 The Killing Game Part 1

In the teaser, Janeway is cosplaying a Klingon. That’s just odd. We quickly learn that the Hirogen have taken control of the ship and are programming the crew to act in holodeck simulations. I hope these Hirogen aren’t idiots.

I hate holodeck episodes. Usually, they’re an excuse for weak writing. Now it’s a WWII restaurant fantasy in occupied France. Yawn. The setup is taking too long. We see Janeway deciphering a message. “That might be fun to look at assuming it’s a real message, ” I thought. No luck.

And there’s some Hirogen philosophizing. Most of them are idiots but one of them at least is smart enough to realize that they’re all a bunch of idiots racing toward extinction. His plan to stave off extinction is too simplistic though.

The cliffhanger is marginally interesting; the crew, believing themselves to be WW2 combatants are about to encounter the rest of the ship. It’s not awful, but the whole episode reminds me of an old double album with way too much filler. There just isn’t enough here.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

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My Voyager Rewatch: S4E04

My #StarTrekVoyager rewatch S4E04 Nemesis

Unlike E03 I remember this one from last year. The description kind of gives away the fact that there’s a twist. That’s annoying. The teaser is startlingly short. I’ll be vague but spoilers are unavoidable.

Chakotay’s shuttle is shot down and he finds himself in a war zone amongst some of the combatants. They seem decent and welcoming. A lot of effort was put into their speech patterns. Interesting & charming but somewhat stilted they give the impression of alienness.

The enemy soldiers look like Naussicans to me. When we see them they’re brutal. Too much of the episode is about Chakotay being drawn into the conflict and he’s an enthusiastic participant by the time he’s rescued. No mention of the prime directive.

In retrospect, the twist is fairly obvious in an episode about propaganda and the fog of war. Outside the propaganda, the episode gets points for neither sanctifying nor demonizing the two sides. Still, it pales in comparison to “Chain of Command” which explores similar themes.

It’s an engaging episode, but unbalanced. We see Chakotay’s descent, but not his redemption. We needed to explore the aftermath, but it’s dismissed with a banal one-liner. Entertaining in the moment, but unsatisfying unless you’re content with a punch-line.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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My Voyager Rewatch: S4E03

My #StarTrekVoyager rewatch S4E03 “Day of Honor”

The title and description tell me this is a Klingon episode. Not wild about that; IMO the Klingons become less interesting the more we learn about them. I watched this not too long ago and remember nothing, also a bad sign.

But there’s Vorek; I do like Vulcans. Torres was going to undergo a Klingon ritual for sentimental reasons which is a nice piece of irony. Meanwhile, Seven requests a duty assignment & wants to work in engineering. That’s the set-up. The Caatati are the first thing to seem familiar.

Blood pie is orange hummus. The DoH ceremony starts with communion. Star Trek engineers are essentially warriors but Torres has no good answer to how she’s distinguished herself. When she leaves the holodeck, a character tries to force her to stay; this show has consent issues.

It’s all peculiar but then we get to leave all the Klingon nonsense behind. I have a mixed impression of the Caatani. Mostly they’re too simplistic, but they spur Seven to become more human and their forgiveness foreshadows the crew’s eventual acceptance of her.

There’s some dumb stuff as well, like using “ion turbulence” to explain an air leak when there was an EXPLODING SHUTTLECRAFT nearby. The “Torres and Paris float in space” story syncs poorly with the Caatani story. My favorite part of the episode is the final visual, where Voyager arrives to save Tom and Belanna but is only seen as a reflection in B’Elanna’s helmet.

Mostly forgettable, but it works somewhat as a vehicle to drive development for Seven and to jumpstart the relationship between Belanna and Tom. Overall, not great, not terrible. Mediocre.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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My Voyager Rewatch: S4E02

My #StarTrekVoyager rewatch S4E2 The Gift.

It’s interesting to see Seven adamantly determined to return to the Collective. This might have built some suspense, but everyone knew Jeri Ryan was joining the cast and Jennifer Lien was leaving. If not, the credits give it away.

(Directed by Anson Williams?! Potsie Webber? IMDB says yes.)

This episode has two parallel threads. Kes’ waxing mental powers, and Seven’s waning Borgness. In particular, Kes’ arc couldn’t be explored until she was leaving the show. Too powerful, she’d obviate the rest of the crew. She’d either solve everything or they’d need some contrivance as to why she couldn’t. Instead, we get a contrivance that gets Kes off the ship, thick with mysticism & technobabble, but still somewhat entertaining.

Meanwhile, Seven is made more human against her will and the show explores the grey area between consent and competence. It walks that line fairly well. It’s a powerful scene when Seven starts to process her individuality and starts using singular pronouns.

The visuals are a nice touch as well. We can see Seven becoming more human, not just with the removal of the Borg tech but through subtler things like changes in skin tone. The two threads weave together. As one character becomes more a part of the crew, the other less. As one comes into herself the other loses her identity. One has choices the other has none.

It’s a bookkeeping episode that does what it needs to do, namely manage the cast changes, but it’s better than that. This is a well-thought-out episode that is ultimately pretty satisfying. I’m glad Kes didn’t just disappear to Mandyville.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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My Voyager Rewatch: S4E17

A quick note: I lost track of this project after a quick 12-hour sentence in Twitter jail when my pending tweets about an episode got erased. It was a terrible episode (worse than this one) and I didn’t have the heart to watch it again. But I think I can face that now. So let’s get back to it.

My #StarTrekVoyager rewatch S4E17 Retrospect

Seven punches an arms dealer because he deserved it. Janeway disciplines her without hearing both sides. “You have to learn the difference between having an impulse and acting on it” is particularly troubling a quarter of a century later.

We take a sharp turn into memory suppression, and Seven has an anxiety attack. The Doctor is insufferably smug; he created and implemented a new, untested psychiatric subroutine. Memories are recovered of Arms-Dealer-Guy stunning Seven and removing Borg tech from her implants.

We never really know what happens, but the crew decides that the repressed memories were false on some thin circumstantial evidence. They claim that they were supportive of 7 but weren’t really. They claim to have been impartial in their investigation but weren’t that either.

There’s too much to unpack here. Lots of dubious choices and bad logic. Janeway makes a series of bad decisions and the resolution seems at odds with the tone of the episode and the actions of the characters.

We circle back and blame the Doctor’s subroutine which never should have been used without testing. It bugs me that 7 is remorseful even though it’s not clear she was wrong. What the point here is unless it is to showcase how awful these situations can be in real life? Bleh.

There’s a good Asimov story lurking underneath here as the Doctor causes a lot of harm by being impetuous. It would be interesting to see what would have played out differently had he been governed by the three laws of robotics.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

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My Voyager Rewatch: S4E16

S4E16: “Prey.”

https://m0vie.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/voy-prey11.jpg?w=468

That Hirogen is @TonyTodd54! Even under all that makeup the voice gives it away. The hunting other sentient creatures motif remains distasteful to me but the EMH teaching Seven social graces on the other hand is nicely comedic & sets up the core of the episode.

The crew gets a big data dump on the Hirogen, stuff that was already obvious. They remain One-dinemsional cookie-cutter villians. Meanwhile we learn more about Species 8472, intriguing mainly because the show has the sense not to tell us too much. Trek should leave things mysterious more frequently.

The heart of “Prey” is Janeway’s interactions with Seven. Her initial stand on helping the Hirogen is odd, more

about the learning than the compassion. When the conversation shifts to saving the member of 8472 she remains dispassionate while Seven is intense. That’s a nice inversion especially when coupled with Seven’s defense of her own individuality.

Todd is great but after “the Visitor” I wish there had been more to this character. It still isn’t enough to make the Hirogen interesting. There are some dubious (distracting) decisions along the way but overall this was a fun and enthralling episode.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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