Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Episode 115: Juggernaut

The Malon aliens are back. You’ll remember them, they’re the unsubtle allegory for 20th century over pollution. This time it’s different though, they’ve had an environmental accident on their freighter that’ll destroy everything in the surrounding area.... okay, not that different. Torres meanwhile has been having difficulty controlling her anger.... again. Since the pollution is affecting Voyager’s warp engines Torres, Neelix and two surviving Malon go across to the freighter to try and avert disaster. It turns out that they aren’t alone on the freighter. One of the crew thought dead had in fact been saturated with the radiation and was sabotaging the ship because he blamed all Malons. Wait, did he escape from a Batman comic? Torres uses her anger for good and knocks out the Batman villain thus saving the day and wrapping up everything with a neat little bow.

Regarding Torres’ anger, it seems we’re just told about it these days rather than being shown. When the episode starts she supposedly destroyed the Doctor’s camera. Also, how many stories about Torres and her uncontrollable anger are there? I’d have thought by near the end of the fifth season there would have been some character development.

The best part of the episode has to be the very start with Tuvok trying to teach Torres to meditate. Trying to be serious all she can do is laugh, now I liked that.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Episode 114: Think Tank

Voyager are under attack from some Hazari bounty hunters. They know this because Professor Seven Von Borg of course knows the species. Janeway attempts to find out who paid them but they aren’t saying and the bad news is there’s no Sarlaac monsters nearby to threaten them with. The good news for Janeway though is that an alien Jason Alexander turns up with his Team Think Tank of very intelligent alien problem solvers to help her, I guess they’re the A+ Team. They of course have a price, in this case it’s Seven, that’s Seven Of Nine not $7. Seven will go if it will save the ship but it transpires that the Think Tank as part of a convoluted plan paid the bounty hunters so they could get Seven in the first place. Janeway and Seven then trick the Think Tank into revealing themselves and warp away as they’re destroyed by the bounty hunters, which was nice of them.

There were a couple of Janeway lines that were they not written three years before it aired I’d have sworn they were by a someone wanting to do CSI Miami. I mean at the end Janeway says to the Think Tank, "I'm sure you'll find a solution. Just give it some … thought.". She couldn’t find her sunglasses though.

One thing I did like was the design of the aliens in Think Tank. It harkened back to the aliens of season one of TNG when it wasn’t just weird nose/forehead of the week. However then Jason Alexander’s character showed up and had a weird forehead.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Episode 113: The Fight

Ugh. Just ugh.

We start in the sickbay with Chakotay being delusional, which is the most interesting character trait he’s ever displayed, which really isn’t saying much. Then it flashes back to a holodeck program about his days when boxing in StarFleet Academy complete with TNG’s Boothby. The point of Boothby seems to be to say that Chakotay’s not letting the alien hit him enough, so that’ll be the Homer Simpson school of boxing. Voyager is then trapped in what is called Chaotic Space, they know this because the Borg have seen it before. Of course they have. It seems the aliens that live in this space are trying to tell Chakotay how Voyager can escape but the communication is confusing and making him doubt reality. So he has a vision quest to see what his people think! They eventually deciphered the messages and were able to get Voyager clear and Chakotay back to his boring self. At least I think that’s what happened, it really was quite confusing (and awful). Oh and the first thing Chakotay does after they’re back in normal space? Goes boxing.

The writer of this episode obviously would have rather written another Rocky movie since Boothby was just a late Burgess Meredith cipher (there wasn’t time now). I mean, they even had a montage in this, and unlike Team America we didn’t need one.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Episode 112: Course: Oblivion

So here’s one I remember being pretty good when I watched it years ago.

It’s a wedding on Voyager! Complete with comedy wedding ring moment! Paris and Torres are getting hitched and they even prepared their own vows. Oh goody. Before you can say tragic bride she’s struck down by a mysterious illness and dies. So I guess this isn’t the real Voyager crew but a sequel to Demon and the mimetic life form ones. “Harry” says this doesn’t make any sense but when has it? This naturally doesn’t stop him from kissing “Janeway’s” arse(ass) but he does end up as “Captain”. Mainly due to virtually everyone else “dying”. Then the real Voyager arrives but just too late as the faux Voyager (fauxager?) has dissolved into it’s constituent particles.

This wasn’t a bad episode, not as good as I remembered it but I like that the Fauxager had adventures that didn’t involve the real Voyager. Also the ending with the two ships not meeting was the right choice.

What’s the deal with with “Torres” and “Paris” planning a honeymoon on the holodeck for a week? What’s wrong with an actual planet? What would they eat? Where would they go to the toilet? Oh god, you can just imagine the mess on the holodeck floor when they finally say “Computer end program”. Now, that’s Course: Oblivion.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Episode 111: The Disease

We’ve just seen the Borg so I guess it’s time for another Voyager staple. No, not time travel, Harry Kim getting off with an alien. I guess they’d call it Planet Fever.

Voyager is helping repair a Varro ship. Now they didn’t ask to be helped, in fact they had to be harassed into it, but when you’ve got an annoying neighbour like Voyager that’s what’s going to happen. He’s got it bad this time, disobeying a direct order from Janeway to do it. Of course the crew find out because contrary to belief he’s not a criminal mastermind and Janeway’s so angry she puts a formal reprimand on his record, she should’ve demoted him to Ensign.... oh wait. Of course this doesn’t stop him, and Kim and Tal (for tis her name) even pretty much engage in webcam sex. Eventually they have to go their separate ways and he finds out it’s a cruel quadrant. Oh and there’s a subplot involving some of the Varrons wanting to split their ship up so they can go their own way. I’ll bet the Varrons just love Voyager.

Best line in the episode has to be Kim to Tal. “When you see a Class 3 nebula think of me” How romantic. Of course, if she thinks about him when she sees a Class 2 nebula he’ll know she’s a filthy pervert.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Episodes 109 & 110: Dark Frontier

And so we have two episodes as one, kind of like the Spice Girls... or the Borg and hey, look who it is.

Voyager is randomly attacked by a Borg rectangle, I’ll say this for them, they do like their geometry. Inexplicably Voyager wins and in amongst the cuboid’s wreckage they find schematics for Borg ships in the area. I presume Janeway had watched Ocean’s Eleven the night before because now she wants to launch a heist on one of the spheres to get a Transwarp Coil. However the Borg Queen being who she is (who is she?) is aware of this all the time (no really, who is she?). The heist goes to plan apart from Seven being captured by the Borg as they want to use her individuality to assimilate Earth.... ookay. Needless to say she’s rescued again and everyone lives happily ever after, even managing to get closer to Earth in the attempt. So that’s the Borg Queen on 0 for 2 in trying to get people to join the Borg, I mean even Tasha Yar managed to seduce Data.

Also shown in flashback throughout the episodes is Seven when she was... well, seven with her scientist parents chasing after the Borg to examine them. This is about the time that the Enterprise couldn’t defeat them and they’re bringing their child along? Of course now every person and their dog can kill the Borg.

(If I did captions for the photos it’d read “Stop hitting yourself”. If I did.)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Episode 108: Bliss

Well it is Star Trek so I guess it’s time to make a tortuous reference to Moby Dick and I guess this is it.

Seven and Naomi Wildman return to Voyager after an away mission. Yes, it’s the Seven and Naomi show! No, don’t even bother to think about that one. It seems in their absence another wormhole has been discovered, oh no wait, it’s all an illusion, Michael. The crew don’t take kindly to being told this so Janeway dispatches Chakotay to deal with her. Yes, that’s right against the Borg. So what follows is another against the rest of the crew type episode. Eventually the ship goes into the wormhole which turns out to be a giant space creature which eats ships. Of course it does. So Naomi, Seven, the Doctor and a random alien they find in the creature team up to get out. Which they succeed (after a couple of false starts with seeing more illusions).

I love how they have those computer pads or PADD as I believe they’re called and that they seem to use them one at a time like paper. At one point Janeway had about five or six on her desk. What did she have on them? The complete literature of a different planet on each on?

One of the things I quite liked about the episode was that Naomi and Seven had complete apathy towards going to Earth. I can well imagine.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Episode 107: Gravity

You know you’re in for one of those episodes when the credits roll and they call Lori “I was in Karate Dog” Petty a Special Guest Star.

Tuvok, Paris and the Doctor on a mission on a shuttle crash lands on a desert planet. A woman wearing a head scarf and presumably fed up with telling people this isn’t Ceti Alpha V or VI arrives. After stealing the med kit and the contents of the shuttle she is rescued from aliens by Tuvok who she gradually falls in love with over the next couple of months. This obviously annoys Paris who diverts his anger into trying to get Tuvok to make out with her. Oh god, it’s turned into a seventies sitcom, without the laughs. I guess that’d be a sixties sitcom. The rest of the time on the planet is pretty much “Go on!” “No.” “Oh go on!” “No.”. Meanwhile on Voyager it transpires that only an hour has past because of.... say it with me... spatial anomalies. Oh and there’s aliens trying to close the rift to get to the shuttle crew plus flashbacks to young Tuvok because obviously there’s not enough happening. The line at the end of the episode pretty much summed up my feelings. “I am grateful”.

I just thought I should mention that Paris was annoying in this episode. Just in case this didn’t come across in the summary. At one point when he says to Tuvok “It’s just you, me and the rocks” I was willing Tuvok to beat him with them.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Episode 106: The Bride Of Chaotica

Here we have the Voyager cast’s equivalent of casual Friday.

Voyager runs into an anomaly or ‘subspace sandbank’, as Torres puts it, and can’t move causing problems on the ship. Some photonic aliens break through into Voyager and because they appear in the holodeck and are galactically stupid they think Paris’ Flash Gordon pastiche program is real. This leads them to start attacking the villain Chaotica despite the Tuvok and Paris’ protestations that it’s as real as Chakotay’s spirit animals. Naturally the holodeck can’t be switched off because well, it’s the the holodeck so the crew come up with a convoluted plan to convince the aliens to leave which involves Janeway becoming Queen Arachnia the Spider Queen, getting married to Chaotica and the Doctor being the President of Earth. Which of course succeeds and everyone lives happily ever after. Except the aliens who are mourning fifty of their dead.

When most of the replicators are down Janeway goes to the mess hall and asks Neelix to get her some coffee. This involves him walking to his replicator and asking for it. Get it your damn self, I thought slavery was abolished in the Federation.

I suppose I can’t really complain about this episode, I mean it’s purposely supposed to be camp and stupid and it did so admirably.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Episode 105: Latent Image

This is a strange episode, when it started I felt sure I wouldn’t like it. I mean, surgery done and no memory of it, just had been done often before.

The Doctor is taking pictures of the crew with his holoimager for their annual physicals. Tsk tsk, Doctor McCoy wouldn’t approve. He discovers that Kim was operated on before Seven came aboard and they have no memory of it. Janeway is no help and then Seven about this, she eventually discovers his program has been altered so he has no memory of the problem. Hey, I have this problem and I hope I’m not a hologram. Digging further they find some photos of an Ensign Jetal they again have no memory of and an away mission the Doctor supposedly went on with the Ensign and Harry. It turns out Janeway and the crew have been behind this. The away mission with Jetal turned bad with her and Kim being fatally injured and the Doctor having a heartbreaking decision to make about which Ensign lives ... or dies. Alas there was no talking pie. This eventually drives his program insane, probably the fact he saved Kim and not the other one. Janeway orders his program be altered again but after chatting to Seven decides to keep the Doctor running and have him talk to people about it.

So the episode turned out a lot better than I thought with the Doctor, Janeway and Seven all having to face interesting facts about themselves and the nature of individuality. Janeway and Seven’s scenes together were surprisingly good.

Meanwhile Ensign Paris still seems to be doing exactly the same things as Lieutenant Paris, so he’s obviously been really punished there. But then he’s Harry’s friend so...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Episode 104: Counterpoint

I actually really liked this one from the start with it’s well directed teaser. But then it’s written by the same guy who wrote DS9’s In The Pale Moonlight so I shouldn’t be surprised.

Voyager is boarded by a Devore inspection team who are looking for telepaths. The leader is Kashyk who despite being too small to be inhabitable to wookies, transports directly into Janeways ready room where they flirt and she tells him Tuvok and Vorik died in a shuttle accident (She’ll admit anything to an interested guy). Eventually the team leave and Tuvok and Vorik, along with telepathic refugees who they’ve been in the transporter buffer with, are beamed into the cargo bay. They resume their course to find a wormhole for the refugees by searching for the scientist who knows the location (Why the Devore didn’t do this is anyones guess). Before they do, Kashyk turns up saying he wants to defect. Unsure if it’s a trap or not, Janeway grants Kashyk limited freedom of the ship and they embark on a cautious romance (A Cautious Romance does sound like a Young Adult novel). Eventually they find the wormhole and Kashyk says “Aha! It’s was a trap all the time” and Janeway says “Aha! Yeagh we knew.” fooling him with barrels of vegetables in the transporter buffer instead.

The scientist they find gives Janeway the location to the last four wormhole appearances and says that if she’s as good a scientist as she says it should be easy to find. I guess not then since we cut to the next scene where Janeway is in front of the computer as it calculates it.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Episode 103: Thirty Days

Thankfully that’s the title of the episode and not the duration.

We start with Paris being reduced in rank to ensign though he shouldn’t be worried Harry seems to have just as much authority on the bridge and he’s an ensign. From Paris in the brig we begin to find out how he got to this point and his daddy issues through a letter to his father. Not sure why he'd tell his father about his Captain Proton holodeck programme in which Kim is always tied up but he does. Eventually Voyager comes across a planet made entirely of water. Paris loves the ocean and always dreamed of being a sailing the seven seas, who says he hasn’t? Suddenly he speaks sailor talk every third word so Janeway sends him on a mission with the planet’s aliens to study the water (probably to get rid of him). It turns out their oxygen reclamation plants are destroying the stability of the planet but the government doesn’t want to do anything about it (ah satire). Janeway won’t force them to but Paris does because of all the years he’s had sea water in his veins, so sets about destroying the plants with one of the aliens. They don’t succeed and Janeway demotes Paris and puts him in the brig for thirty days (probably to get rid of him and his sailor talk again).

Chakotay’s sole contribution to the episode is his proud announcment that the amount of water bigger than the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans put together. Yes that’ll be because it’s a planet. Made of water.

The demoting of Paris was quite interesting, especially since it's not undone by the end of the episode.  It's just a pity it wasn't for something more believable than his sudden interest in being a nautical cove.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Episode 102: Nothing Human

So in this one, Tabor, a Bajoran, who we’ve never seen before does nothing but complain from the start. “Oh I hate Seven because Torres does, oh I hate that guy because he killed my family”. Jeez get over it.

Voyager pick up a distress signal and beams an alien to sickbay to find it’s like nothing they’ve never seen before, mainly because it’s a rubber bug with no forehead makeup. To show it’s gratitude it bites Torres (twice is careless, third time is just stupidity). The Doctor doesn’t know how to help because he doesn’t have all the computer’s medical data at his disposal because that’d make sense. So he makes a hologram of a Cardassian exobiologist. Who of course Torres hates (it’s a bloody hologram) because he’s a Cardassian (making generalisations based on race on Voyager? Well unless the other person is Vulcan). Naturally the Cardassian did experiments on Bajorans (can’t show any sympathetic Cardassians on this show) and there’s an ethical debate (you can tell they love them) whether they should use him to save Torres, who herself says they shouldn’t. Janeway orders they should and Torres is saved but is angry about it. So just the same as normal then.

As for the ethical debate, Seven says something that’s meant to be profound and make us think. “The Borg are accused of assimilating information with no regard for life. This Cardassian did the same and yet, his behavior is tolerated”. First thing, no it wasn’t. Just because you’re overcome by a stronger force doesn’t mean you tolerate something.

I did like the scene towards the end where Janeway explains to Torres that she ordered her life be saved. Basically the last line amounted to “Shut up bitch, I’m the Captain.”