Sunday, 30 October 2011

Episode 101: Infinite Regress

Remember the Seven who had barely concealed contempt for everyone on the ship? Well wave goodbye to her because now she’s playing board games with the child Wildman and now even one of the good games!

Seven wakes from her regeneration cycle and after searching for ages in Neelix’s kitchen eventually finds some meat to ravenously eat, oh she’s a Klingon now. She then bites Torres, wonder if Seven has Pon Farr now. But then her personality changes to others and she becomes a human child followed by a Vulcan and then a Ferengi. It seems the people she previously assimilated are resurfacing now and causing her chaos (how do they even resurface and why are they even in her mind in the first place?). This is due to a virus that an alien race have given to a Borg cube which then destroyed it and is affecting Seven. Hurrah, another species can destroy the Borg! They’re just rubbish these days aren’t they? But it’s okay Janeway “understands” what Seven is going through. How?! Anyway after the aliens fire on Voyager for ruining their plan and Tuvok mind melds with Seven everybody’s fine again. Well except Seven as I mentioned at the top.

Jeri Ryan’s performance was pretty good for the most part, I liked her Ferengi most of all though it did seem to be more via Groucho Marx. Despite that I did find it kind of hard to care about this episode, maybe after 101 episodes malaise is setting in. Hey if Nixon can go to China in Star Trek VI then Carter can go to the Delta Quadrant.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Episode 100: Timeless

It’s the hundredth episode! So what do they do? Time travel of course.  This time no-one actually travels in time, a message does.  Next time it'll be a feeling, if only they could spare one.

The teaser has Harry and Chakoay from the future finding Voyager underneath the ice of a planet. Turns out it’s been there for fifteen years, frozen corpses and all. Thanks to a new slipstream drive they had all hoped to get home but only Harry and Chakotay made it (imagine how disappointed StarFleet were). Now Harry’s trying to correct his mistake from all those years before (just that one?) by sending a message back to Seven’s Borg implant, which the Doctor and his holoemitter gets for him (presumably the holoemitter was pulled out of One’s corpse). They’re now fugitives from StarFleet who send Captain LaForge after them (woo!). Of course they succeed and once again another timeline is change, we’re on timeline 35 by now I’d say.

Before they use the slipstream drive they all celebrate with a party in engineering complete with champagne and drunk Seven. Surely the fact that they’ve had their hopes dashed of going to the Alpha Quadrant seven times before would mean they wouldn’t celebrate until they’re actually there?

I actually might’ve enjoyed this episode more if the main characters weren’t Harry (Seriously, I thought endlessly peppy Harry was annoying) and that other guy, you know second in command guy? Whatever his name is.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Episode 99: Once Upon A Time

There will come a time when I am on my deathbed and my life will flash before my eyes. This episode will consequently come up and dying won’t seem so bad.

So we’re introduced to the new Naomi Wildman in her holodeck programme featuring a water person called Flotter and a tree person called Trevis. Trevis is... oh god, why am I watching this? Seriously Naomi’s next to a pond, where is Frankenstein’s Monster? Right, I suppose I better tell you the story. Naomi’s mother is away on a mission which is put into danger when the Delta Flyer crashes in a planet. Rather than tell Naomi her mother might not come back , her godfather Neelix goes batshit insane and tries to keep her occupied with the holodeck so that she doesn’t suspect anything. This is something to do with his family being dead. In the end everyone confronts their feelings and lives happily ever after. Well everyone in the episode that is.

At one point Naomi finds out Neelix is on the bridge so she just decides to go there. Isn’t there any kind of security around? Oh wait he was in the Delta Flyer too.

Incidentally this episode was originally going to be almost a whole show of Neelix and Naomi in the holodeck programme with Flotter and Trevis but thanks to Rick Berman it was changed. No really, thank you Rick!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Episode 98: In The Flesh

So this story takes place on Earth. The reason I know this is because we’re shown humans at StarFleet Academy with the Golden Gate bridge in the background and an Admiral says “Welcome To Earth”. So obviously there’s no way it’s not.

Chakotay and Tuvok are walking about this Earth but it’s revealed to be set on a space station. Chakotay sets up a date with one of the cadets and before he leaves takes another one of them back to Voyager where it’s revealed that he’s really a member of Species 8472 in disguise. It seems they’re planning an invasion of Earth. Chakotay goes back for his date (while Harry Kim wonders what it’s like to date an alien. Yes, Harry we know, we know). Chakotay says it’s to learn intel but I think he’s just getting a little frisky. This is all very uninteresting so, skip to the end, and Voyager and Species 8472 make friends.

Remember when Species 8472 used to be cool? One of the few aliens to defeat the Borg and now they’re going on dates with Chakotay and saying non-fluidic space has “it’s charms”. Plus they’re inane plan recreated StarFleet Academy which I suppose is fine from a reconnaissance perspective so they can get people into the mindset of being on Earth. Do they really have to include the gardener (Boothby from TNG)?

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Episode 97: Extreme Risk

Today watching Voyager I learned of the word ‘thermalise’ which they thought meant being burned up on reentry but actually is the process in which neutrons lose energy in a moderator and become thermal neutrons. Quite close you’ll agree.

In this exciting installment Voyager’s probe is going to be scavenged by the Malon but it gets stuck in the upper atmosphere of a gas giant (NASA must have made it). Not being able to get it by transporter Voyager decides to build a new shuttle through replication and spare parts (So apparently the energy problem doesn’t matter now). But what’s this the Malon are building their own shuttle? Then I guess the race is on! Ugh. Meanwhile Torres is depressed and trying to harm herself using the holodeck. This is apparently because  all the Maquis are dead which she found out about fourteen episodes ago.  Guess it took time to sink in, but thanks to Chakotay (that scene in which he manipulates her into confessing the truth is one of the few good things that characters ever done) she’s fine at the end of the episode with no psychological hangups and even saves the day!

When Neelix tried to kill himself in Mortal Coil you’d have thought he’d have just gone to the holodeck and turned the safety protocols off. It would have been a much more fun way to die, you could even recreate the Simpsons thing of being force-fed donuts.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Episode 96: Drone

The Doctor’s 29th century holoemitter mixes with Seven’s Borg technology thanks to a... you guessed it, transporter malfunction. Runner up prizes for those of you who guessed time travel.

Thusly the Borgoemitter makes a maturation chamber and takes genetic information from Ensign Mulcahy (who astonishingly doesn’t die). When Seven and Janeway open the chamber they see a futuristic Borg Foetus and... Kill it! Kill it with fire! No? Well I guess they decide to do the compassionate thing then. Eventually the Borg is “born” and this being television ages to an adult Borg with a posh voice in minutes. He names himself One as he was presumably a fan of the Royal Family. So then we have the usual teach the Borg human things with Seven being his mother. I guess, this makes Janeway his Grandmother, though I don’t know if she had wheels. The Borg is alerted to One’s presence and sends a Borg Sphere. Which he promptly destroys and then to save the rest of Voyager let’s himself die so that no more Borg ships will come. Trust me, One, that’s not going to stop that.

Strangely we don’t see Ensign Mulcahy again in the episode. No wonder One was depressed after his father abandoned him at an early age and he was an accident. Of course the fact that his best friend was Neelix probably didn’t help matters either.

Decent enough episode but does feel a lot like a remix of I, Borg and The Offspring from TNG but it was a nice touch of Seven looking at her reflection in the very first and very last shots, smiling in one and not in the other.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Episode 95: Night

Well, this a strange and quite schizophrenic episode.

Voyager’s arrived at a void where there are no planets, stars or even time travel. Janeway copes by shutting herself off from the crew to deal with the guilt of stranding them in the Delta Quadrant in the first place and everyone else is at each others throats. Now this is good! Of course it can’t last so by the middle of the episode aliens fighting each other turn up, one with the location to a spatial vortex. Oh and there’s a musical interlude with Harry playing his saxomophone on a deserted bridge. I’m not even kidding on that last one.

The teaser opens with Paris and Kim playing a black and white 1940s style Holodeck programme. This confirmed two things for me. DS9 did this better with Bashir and O’Brien and also Kim is the damsel in distress. I also liked Chakotay’s response when it looked like the Holodeck may fail. “The last thing we need is a broken holodeck.” Um, no it isn’t.

As I mentioned the start is a cool concept which we’re told will take them two years. So naturally it’s a disappointment when Janeway and the crew’s back to normal by the end of the episode. So back to normal that Janeway uses the line “Time to take out the garbage.”. Welcome to season five everybody!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Episode 94: Hope And Fear

So here we are at another finale and unlike recent ones it’s a standalone episode.

This starts with Janeway and Seven playing a shoot the ball game in the holodeck, the ball resembling a Skittle™. Though Seven argues with Janeway when she doesn’t win, I guess she didn’t taste the rainbow. A random alien, Arturis (Ray Wise) arrives on board and, not suspiciously at all, can decipher a Star Fleet message the crew have been studying for months. It turns out that the Federation have sent a state of the art ship with slipstream drive to them so that it’ll take months to get home. Of course they didn’t, this is the same Federation who were almost defeated by a probe talking to whales. It’s all revealed to be a trick by Arturis (Ray Wise playing a villain? Who’d have thunk it.), angry at Janeway for her part in the Species 8472 debacle. Seven and Janeway then have to cooperate Sesame Street style to defeat him. Ah, closure.

Finally one of Janeway’s decision comes back to bite her on the proverbial arse/ass. Though given the rest of her command and the crew deaths she’s getting off pretty lightly really. So long as she tames Seven then everything will be fine. Won’t it? Never mind that Seven didn’t even want to go to Earth but who can blame her, it seems quite boring in the 24th century, no crime or hunger. What the hell are their television programmes about?

So that’s another season done. About two or three actual good episodes this time, depending if you include the first part of a disappointing two parter. Now, how does that old saying go? Ah yes, “End of season four, brace yourself for more.”

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Episode 93: One

Alas this isn’t a prequel to TNG’s episode 11001001, but more about Seven coping with monophobia. No, not a fear of that Simpsons episode.

Voyager comes across a vast nebula which gives everyone on board extreme headaches (Have these people never had a hangover before?). As it would take them over a year to go around it the crew get put into stasis, all but Seven and the Doctor. Of course, where they found over 100 stasis chambers on board is anyone’s guess. Anyway, Seven having been in the Borg finds it difficult to cope with suddenly being by herself. I’d have thought it’d be welcome relief but far be it from me to argue, and she begins to hallucinate while the ship systems are collapsing around her.

Another Doctor and Seven episode, which is never a bad thing, especially when they move into sitcom territory but this really is The Seven Show. It’s none the worse for it but unfortunately it looks like she’s warming to the crew at the end or maybe she got cabin fever. Which would certainly explain why she’d want to make conversation with these people.

Another crew member dies in this one, so that’s 25 confirmed deaths so far. Good thing they keep adding random people into the crew or by the time they get home there’d only be a handful left. And one of those would be Harry’s holographic girlfriend.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Episode 92: Demon

So this one starts off with Voyager running out of fuel (Deuterium for those who care) and having to go into Gray Mode. This seems to involve turning off lights if you’re not in the room and other things your parents told you when you were a teenager.

Anyway, Janeway orders research into synthesising an alternative fuel. Um, shouldn’t this have been done long ago when you still had fuel? Seven then finds a Demon Class Planet (with Astrometrics which she was ordered to turn off, well done Chakotay!) which has fuel but also is completely inhospitable to humans (kind of like Pizza Hut). When Harry and Paris travel to it and find they can only breathe the noxious fumes of the planet they realise things are a little weird. Unfortunately though they don’t leave them behind.

Obviously this plot wasn’t enough for the Voyager writers so they added a Doctor/Neelix Odd Couple bit where he moves into the sickbay with hilarious results! Did I say hilarious? Sorry, I meant predictable results.

Quite a bit of Harry and Paris chatting in this episode which is good, unfortunately most of it is more Vulcan racism. Remember kids, it’s not big and it’s not logical. Also so much for everyone getting along in the Roddenberry’s utopian future.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Episode 91: Living Witness

Another great episode in the SAME season?! Surely this has to some kind of mistake. Or perhaps it’s even the long sought after proof of chaos theory. And not just a great episode, I think this is probably the best episode of Voyager yet, which you’d expect from an episode that doesn’t actually feature anyone from the Voyager crew except the Doctor (well sort of).

Seven hundred years in the future, a backup of the Doctor’s programme is re-initiated on a Delta Quadrant planet in the Kyrian Museum of Heritage. Here they have the effects of Voyager’s encounter with the Kyrian and Vaskan races (and their continuing struggle with each other) played out on screens. Except this Voyager isn’t quite the one we know, it’s a ship of war filled with Borg assassins, biogenic weapons and briefing room brawls. In short it’s awesome.

Not that I’d want Voyager to be a ship of war or anything (well except when the Kazon were concerned) but it was fun seeing it briefly with the crew and Mulgrew in particular hamming it up as a psychotically evil captain. The best part of the episode though has to be the Doctor’s interaction with museum curator and how history is interrupted rather than being just facts. Robert Picardo’s acting was brilliant too, with him being a man(hologram) out of time, not being able to see his crewmates again as it was centuries ago despite it being days for him.

There is virtually nothing in this episode I didn’t like. I don’t know what to believe anymore.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Episode 90: Unforgettable

Boy goes to Delta Quadrant, boy meets girl, boy forgets girl, boy meets girl, boy forgets girl.  Ah, that old story.

Voyager comes upon two cloaked ships in the midst of a battle (Special Effects took that week off then). One of the ships is damaged and an alien woman specifically contacts Chakotay for help. This is surprising not because she knows his name, but really... him?  The alien woman is played by Virginia Madsen who, presumably being fed up with the Candyman, decides shows up on Voyager (doesn’t she know Tony Todd’s on Star Trek every other week?).  Anyway, turns out she’s from a planet that nobody is allowed to leave and who other species can only remember for a few hours. She’d been on the ship before to seek out an escapee from her planet and fell in love with Chakotay but no-one could remember. This time she’s the escapee. So... she meets Chakotay and he can’t remember her? Shouldn’t that be the other way round?

For some reason Neelix was in this being a zen master to Chakotay and telling him all about the mysteries of love. Should he really be taking advice from someone who’s only girlfriend left him?

At one point in the Astrometrics Lab (where Seven appears to live now), Voyager’s route to the Alpha Quadrant is shown, which has to be made up because it’s in a straight line. Since when do they not take a detour every few days for a distress signal, anomaly, space mall or Harry Kim wants a new species to fall in love with?

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Episode 89: The Omega Directive

Despite the title, this isn’t about a 1980’s hair metal band, although with Voyager it’s only a matter of time.

The Voyager controls lock out and nobody can access anything which I suppose is the yellow light of death for starships. Let’s hope they remembered to make a backup, but before they begin arguing over who’s turn that was, Janeway wanders onto the bridge and fixes everything. Turns out this is all due to the Omega Directive which is actually the most important order from Star Fleet, superceding even the Prime Directive (Not that anyone actually cares about that). Omega’s a incredibly dangerous substance that must be destroyed at all costs. Seven also knows of it from the Borg and thinks of it as perfection. I’ll not insult your intelligence by telling you who wins that argument.

The last time I watched this, lo those many years ago, I just thought the idea of the Omega Directive was kind of silly and not warranting the fanfare it has on the episode, but watching it now I can kind of see it. It’s by no means a great episode but it didn’t bore me like so many others (so many). Besides any episode where Seven calls Harry Kim “Six of Ten” isn’t bad in my book... or blog.

As a friend pointed out to me (go to his website here!), this one wouldn’t be out of place on TOS either, what with orders from Star Fleet and all. So that’s two in all now. I hope that doesn’t mean that Seven is the new Chekov?