Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Episode 49: Sacred Ground

So Voyager's taking a tour of a random planet's spirtual complex, it's not like they have anything better to do.  What?  Travel to the Alpha Quadrant?  Trust me Star Fleet's better off without them.  Anyway, Kes is injured and to cut a long story short (it doesn't) Janeway has to seek an audience with the spirits, and to do that she has to forget about science and give in to blind faith.  Well, it's not as if science has done anything for us.  Well apart from rocket travel, improved life expectancy and well everything, what has science ever done for us?
Of course during this we have Neelix wallowing in his own self pity and being as annoying a character as he normally is.  I swear there were a couple of episodes in which he was good in, more if you count the ones he wasn’t in.  Yet, they ignore them and continue writing him in the same way with no change to his character at all.
Meanwhile whilst all this is going on before you can say "written out of character" Chakotay is actually trying to talk Janeway out of this.  Is he jealous now somebody else has their own spirtual shtick?
Isn’t it time for another silly episode?  I’m getting a bit bored of these...um... boring ones.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Episode 48: Remember

You just know you’re in for an extra special episode when the cliffhanger before the credits is that Torres sleeps in.  Strap yourselves in, it’s warp factor entertainment!  Point two.
So Voyager’s acting like a taxi service for a group of aliens travelling to their home planet.  These aliens have telepathic links and shortly afterwards Torres has dreams, in which she is one of the aliens, in the form of After School Specials.  This particular one is that the Holocaust is bad.  Yeagh, I think most people know that.  So Torres is getting these dreams from one of the elder aliens who dies. Torres gets annoyed at this, tries to confront the aliens but none of them will believe her about the holocaust and because this is the week that Janeway stands by the Prime Directive she can’t do anything about it.  Until that is one of the aliens decides to see the image in her mind and see it’s all true.  
Just one question, so why didn’t the elder alien just cut out the middle man and send the dreams to one of her race in the first place?  Then I wouldn’t have had to put up with this pointless episode in which the Voyager crew don’t actually do anything.

Oh and lastly, when the writers decide to have Janeway say the line “When was the last time I surprised you?” to Tuvok how about they not make it two episodes after he said to her “Captain, you have managed to surprise me”.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Episode 47: False Profits

Or this episode should be called “Alpha Quadrant, how can we miss you if you won’t go away?”.  So Voyager while travelling 70,000 light years from Earth comes across the two Ferengi last seen in a TNG episode.  Plus there’s the chance of them all getting back home (Spoiler: they don’t).
So instead of just beaming the Ferengi aboard (which they do and then put them back) because it might affect the planet, they then set about an elaborate scheme to have them leave and have the population happy.  Does no-one else think they should just beam them aboard and warp the hell out of there?  It’s not the like the planet could be any more screwed now is it?
Considering this is a Ferengi comedy story it’s a quite dark in places.  It veers from the vaudeville of Neelix pretending to be the Grand Nagus’ Proxy and how are the two Ferengi going to get out of that? Oh wait, they’ll kill him.  Plus the population of the planet get quite violent towards the end, but who can blame them really.
While I’ll give you this is a silly episode, I actually quite like it, it kept me mildly amused.  Don’t worry I’m sure next episode Janeway’ll be back to being a ‘by the book’ Captain.  When it suits of course.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Episode 46: The Swarm

So we’re back to an A and a B story.  Typically enough the A story is mundane and the B story is quite good.  Also typically enough the good B story features the Doctor.
So the crew come across a new alien species who own a vast expanse of space and aren’t keen on visitors.  Going around it would add time to Voyager’s already lengthy journey so they opt to go through it and take the risks.  Anyway since when did they care about the amount of time it would take when they go gallavanting off to the nearest anomaly on a whim and go on random journeys to find crewmember’s offspring?  Not ten seconds after this announcement it’s stated that Star Fleet forbids ships to go into other alien territories without consent and Janeway’s find disobeying this.  She really just makes it all up as she goes along doesn’t she?
Meanwhile the Doctor is losing his memory and so Torres uses the diagnostic programme and a holographic recreation of his creator Dr Zimmerman to help.  If there’s anything that can help a Voyager episode it’s two Doctors, in fact I’d like it if he just played every character in the show but then I’m not subtle about that.  As already said this was the best part and not just the Doctor being funny but him showing fear at the coming unknown of memory loss but this should have been it’s own episode rather than playing second fiddle to the bee aliens.
This episode’s triumph  though was it’s ending was used by Star Trek Nemesis.  Now that’s infamy for you.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Episode 45: The Chute

It’s a Kim episode and according to Garrett Wang this is the best one of his.  So Kim doesn’t get any better than this, yes, another five seasons and we don’t reach the lofty heights of The Chute.  Still, at least Paris punched him.
So in this episode Kim and Paris are held in an alien prison and have to defend themselves against the indigenous population, unfortunately the gangs are more West Side Story.  They both have an implant in their head that slowly drives them both insane.  So much so that he almost kills Paris, typical, takes an implant in Kim’s head before he’ll actually do anything interesting.
Meanwhile back on the ship Janeway’s demonstration of Star Fleet values was admirable.  When trying to clear Kim and Paris of their made up terrorism charges she impounds a ship and the two people on board.  So much for liberty.  She’ll be disregarding the Prime Directive next... oh wait.
Having said all that, with it’s Star Fleet crewmember in a prison motif is very similar to so many other episodes, especially when you consider the killing/almost killing of Paris and the DS9 episode “Hard Time”.  Needless to say it’s never a good thing to do a similar episode to DS9 (See Flashback).

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Episode 44: Flashback

It’s the anniversary episode, alas it’s no Trouble With Tribbles, but then what is?  Tuvok and Janeway link in a mindmeld that takes them both back in their minds to the time of Captain Sulu and Star Trek VI.
I understand the need to bring back as many of the Excelsior crew from Star Trek VI to maintain the feel of continuity (and indeed a lot of the same extras were brought back too) but did they have to give Grace Lee Whitney so many lines?  I think she was just so excited to be there she forgot how to act. George Takei though is as good as always and it would’ve been nice to see him again in Star Trek.
While it was good to see them not to use time travel again but have Janeway effectively be the viewer watching these events, did they really have to fix it so that Sulu could see Janeway?  Having said that I did like that the memory was actually a virus disguised as a memory.  Sure, it probably makes no sense but it made just a little sense to me to sound clever.  Oh and also to have Tuvok sitting on the forward part of the bridge that we never see was clever too, so it fit in with continuity.  Pity then there were a few other blatant continuity errors.
One conclusion I can make about Tuvok when he was 29 is I’m glad we know him now.  Making tea for his Captain?  Pfft.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Episode 43: Basics Part II

Here we have the Voyager crew having to fend for themselves on the primitive planet while the Doctor and Suder try to take back Voyager with Paris and his ragtag band of Talaxian cavalry for help.  I’ve got to say having Paris by himself in the shuttlecraft has made me realise how annoying his character has gotten over the last year.
First of all who put Neelix in charge of a team?  He finds some bones (not THE Bones) at the mouth of a cave which he himself states is a “Do Not Disturb” sign, so naturally he tells Hogan to stand at the cave and pick up the bones.  Hogan of course dies and he blames himself.  Well there’s a reason for that.  IT WAS YOUR FAULT!
Second of all there were a couple of decisions that the producers made that just seemed, I dunno, weak I guess.  The killing of Suder for instance, especially after his good scenes with the Doctor in this, sure he redeemed himself after saving Voyager but just think how interesting it would have been with him still being on Voyager,  Then of course there’s the fact that the child of Seska isn’t Chakotay’s at all.  After all that might lead to character growth and we can’t have that, though then we’d have to have two children on board so... I’ll give them that one..
So part two was quite a disappointing conclusion to the story given the promise that was seen in the first one but you can’t have everything.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Episode 42: Basics Part I

It’s the season finale so you know what that means, that’s right it’s the... Kazons?  It’s alright it’s sort of their last appearance.

So Seska contacts Voyager to say she’s had Chakotay’s baby and to come and get her.  So Janeway and Chakotay talk about whether they should all go after his son she says that it’s his decision.  Um actually, no, it’s not... YOU’RE THE CAPTAIN.  Also why bother?  Don’t the rest of the crew have something to say about being delayed from getting back home yet again?  Needless to say it’s a trap, the ship is captured and the crew end up on a planet without technology.  Oh the irony.

The Doctor’s is a funny character all by himself so why do they need to put him in “humourous” situations.  This week it involved him being accidentally put in space during a battle.  Oh, my sides have split.  Speaking of battles, they seem to have got even more technobabbly since TNG.  It’s all “attack pattern sierra” and what have you now which results in two photon torpedoed being fired.  What was wrong with “fire two torpedoes”?

It is nice to see Suder the serial killer again, good to know that he wasn’t just thrown into Phantom Zone as people are want to do in these situations.  The next part is set up nicely with Suder and the Doctor poised on the ship to go all Die Hard In The Delta Quadrant.

And that’s season two done, five to go.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Episode 41: Resolutions

I like Star Trek stories that have morals, just like this one.  The moral is if you can’t get what you want be a petulant child and piss and whine about it all you can and it’ll be yours.  Stand up Harry Kim, it’s your finest hour.
Janeway and Chakotay are infected on a planet and there is no cure so they have to be left behind putting Tuvok in command, oh shame.  Down on the planet over the course of the two months, yes apparently it was two months though they never really indicated that, Janeway and Chakotay grow closer together.  Well I say closer together, it was the Star Trek closer, ie giving massages and touching hands.  Shocking stuff, I’m surprised Janeway didn’t get pregnant immediately.
So to the ship; racism is dead in the 24th century?  Pfft, unless you’re a Vulcan.  Just because Tuvok doesn’t feel all as “emo” as the crew that somehow means that he’s making the wrong decisions. 

Then of course there’s Kim’s temper tantrum (is he five?) on the bridge that has him relieved of duty, what’s wrong Harry?  Is the world a worse place now you’re not half way up the Captain’s anus?!  The fact that the crew all go along with this and that eventually even Tuvok does just sickens me.  Sure, let’s risk the safety of the ship to get a cure from the Vidiians just to bring back two people.  The story would’ve been much better if some people on Voyager had died in the ensuing battle but of course that would’ve raised interesting questions and can’t have that.  And relax.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Episode 40: Tuvix

It’s a transporter accident episode.  Haven’t had one of them in a while.  Especially one where two become one.  No the Spice Girls don’t make an appearance, I can be grateful for small mercies.  So one of the better characters, Tuvok, and one of the worst ones, Neelix, become one life form.  You win some, you lose some.  
Over the course of the episode people become attached to the new Tuvix, emotionally I mean, not that there’s another transporter accident.  Now that would be a Star Trek story.*  Needless to say Kes is the one most affected by this, so we follow her emotional arc as she’s first apprehensive and then grows to accept him.  I do think though it would have been much better if the Tuvix character had been allowed to stay around for a few episodes so the ending when it eventually came would have more resonance.
I have to say while I do criticise Janeway a lot, she has been pretty ruthless in this episode and the last, which I liked.  So when the decision came to separate Tuvix weeks later he wasn’t very dignified about it, which really did help, but then why would you be?
* Note to Paramount producers, that would not be a story.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Episode 39: The Thaw

Yay for Michael McKean.  He’s plays a homicidal clown in this episode, so I guess this is Voyager’s Stephen King’s It.  

The crew of the Voyager come across an artificial hibernation system which the aliens have been in since a natural disaster, though they’re being held hostage in the system by the aforementioned clown.  A personification of their fear, don’t you know.  So then part of the episode becomes a philosophy lesson on the nature of fear itself.  And yes, the fear itself quote was used, but needless to say Kim didn’t know who said it.
The Doctor was used to good effect in this, taking him out of the sickbay and into the virtual reality world that the alien’s inhabit now, as Janeway’s hostage negotiator.  Though I don’t rate Janeway’s negotiation tactics, since a third of the original inhabitants ends up dead because of them.... okay, that’s only one but still....not sure how they’re going to repopulate the species with just two left out of 400,000.
While I thought the ending was very good the way it was done, couldn't they have found a way to incorporate him into the crew somehow?  It would have been great, people would have been afraid to go into the holodeck, thus saving energy!  And yes, I’m ignoring their technobabble to explain why holodeck energy couldn’t be used.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Episode 38: Innocence

You know, I wasn’t going to watch all of Voyager again, I had looked at other things to do, even Deep Space Nine again.  Then this voice in my head piped up.  “Review Voyager” it said.  “You can start a blog” it said.  So here I am not even at the end of season two plodding along.  Episodes like this one really don’t help, 38 out of 168.  130 to go.  130.
Alright alright, I’ll carry on.  Tuvok crash lands on an alien moon and he has to look after some children, you can almost hear the sitcom laughter while watching it.  See how Tuvok has to scold children and be patient with them, how hilarious yet heartwarming.  But wait!  There’s a twist, the children are old people, it seems in Drayan society people age backwards so y’know, there’s that.  I suppose though creches and retirement homes would still be pretty similar.
Still the Doctor is in a brief scene trying to be diplomatic with a visiting delegation of Drayans, that was mildly amusing.  I can only hope that the next episode is better.  Much better.
One thing I can’t help but think, is the movie “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” to the Drayans like “Memento” is to us?