This episode of Star Trek Voyager is off to a great start with the Voyager under attack in a space battle and they’re damaged as hell. One no-name in engineering is really hurt, because his console exploded. You’d think they’d have thought of a work around for that by the time they designed the Voyager. A simple fuse seems more efficient than exploding a computer in someone’s face. Anyway, there’s lots of people hurt and tons of damage. There must be something wrong… this is exciting!
The guy in engineering that dies was a former Maquis. Chakotay tries to convince Janeway to act more like the Marquis because they’re all alone without support, just like the Voyager is now. Uh, that makes total sense. They’ve had multiple attacks and injuries according to Chakotay. Of course he’s wrong though, because A) Janeway doesn’t agree and she’s always right. B) That’s how this show is written and it’s one of the most frustrating aspects of Voyager. Every time I agree with a character’s viewpoint, I’m proven wrong by the writers of the series.
With Next Generation, I liked the characters and their world view. And when I didn’t agree most of the time they won me over. On Voyager, many of the characters are simply unlikable and many of their decisions don’t seem to make sense. And we’re basically lectured on why these terrible decisions are the right ones. On a similar note, I simply can’t understand why Janeway is always right on this show. Why can’t she make a mistake and learn from it like a normal, well-rounded character? If she’s always right, the rest of the crew looks like a bunch of dummies.
They have a funeral for no-name engineer. Hey, wouldn’t this have a lot more of an impact if we knew who this character was beforehand? Anyway, a crewman asks Janeway to give the Kazon some Federation technology so they’d leave them alone. Janeway’s answer is a bold, “No! I’d rather have everyone of you die!” (I’m paraphrasing) and then a snappy response that the Marquis would compromise their beliefs. Yeah, they want to live instead of dying stranded thousands of light years away. What idiots. Let’s just completely dismiss their point of view without consideration.
Chakotay asks, “Isn’t there something in between his position and yours?” Yes! Chakotay is making sense. That can’t be good. He proposes an alliance, which is pretty bold for a guy who had his sperms stolen by Seska, an evil Cardassian who is in league with the Kazon he wants to ally himself with. (See the Voyager Torture post on Maneuvers to refresh yourself on this)
Janeway is still unsure about all this, so she has a talk with Tuvok. He busts out a story about how Spock had formed an alliance with the Romulans. Yay! A name drop of a character that appeared on other shows that I like! What a breath of fresh air. Janeway argues that they’d be upsetting the power balance and Tuvok says that it’s only temporary. He then proceeds to talk about how grafting two plants together made a stronger plant. Wow subtle, Tuvok. Janeway finally agrees that they should form an alliance.
At a meeting of the bridge crew Neelix (ugh) offers to set up a meeting between the Voyager crew and a Kazon faction. Kim jokes that they should set up an alliance with Seska. And then Janeway says, “Good idea. We have to make this potential alliance as terrible as possible, so when it blows up I can shove it in everyone’s faces that I was right.” No, she doesn’t say that, but I have the feeling she was thinking it.
Janeway works on a deal with another group of Kazon which consists of Seska and the Kazon dude she’s allied with. The Voyager crew won’t give them weapons, but they’ll give them food and medicine. The Kazon dude wants to exchange crew for some reason. Of course, he’s a jerk and Janeway doesn’t like it, so she calls the whole thing off. Diplomacy!
Meanwhile, Neelix is trying to meet his contact to propose an alliance with another Kazon faction and he’s captured. He’s led to a cave full of alien people who were also captured by the Kazon. Oh, we’re being shown why an alliance with the Kazon would be foolish. I get it.
Meanwhile, the Maquis crewman that confronted Janeway earlier is talking shit about her to engineer Torres (she was formerly Maquis). Sounds like a mutiny in the works. Damn, this episode is busy. Too bad all these threads aren’t leading to anything amazing.
Neelix and the captured aliens are freed by their own people at the same time Voyager meets up with an angry armada of Kazon. Oh no, that’s not right. The ships are trading vessels and the Kazon vessels are actually stolen from these people. The Voyager crew have a meeting with the leader of these aliens, the Trabe, who gives them a background story about the Kazon. Awhile ago the Trabe used to fuck over the Kazon. Eventually, the Kazon got some balls and turned the tables. Ever since then the Kazon have hunted the Trabe down. Now, what I’m about to say might sound bad, but please bear with me a moment. The Trabe aliens look whiter. That is to say, they’re presented in a fashion that makes them look more conventionally white, but with stuff glued on their faces to make them look “alien”. So obviously, they’re the ones we can trust more and that’s just what Janeway does.
Okay, let’s take a step back. How did they not know about these people beforehand? Neelix, who knows this area and tells them all kinds of useful information, just conveniently forgot to tell them the origin of the Kazon and that there’s a fairly powerful group that they could have teamed up with all along? Oh Neelix explains that the Trabe kept their poor treatment of the Kazon on the down low somehow. Still, that doesn’t explain why Neelix wouldn’t even consider bringing any part of this up before.
Meanwhile, one of the Maquis decides to go behind everyone’s back and contact Seska. Ruh row! They’re up to no good! More plot stuff! This is growing tiring!
Janeway decides to form an alliance with the Trabe. Seems like it’s okay to re-balance the power in this section of the galaxy if they’re slightly more attractive, they seem like nicer people, and they have a better sob story.
So the Kazon factions and the traders all have a conference and when the Kazon enter the room there’s really shitty fanfare and clapping* from nowhere. It’s bizarre. Anyway, they have a meeting and a ship pulls up outside the building to attack them. The “good guys” manage to transport away and the Voyager fires four torpedoes at the thing and it still somehow manages to fly away. How was the ship that strong? Even with shields a torpedo in the Star Trek universe can pack a big punch… much less four of them. And I thought they were running out of torpedoes (which should have leveled the unshielded buildings around the impact). Why not use phasers? This show!
Anyway, it turns out that it wasn’t a Kazon set up, it was the Trabe that were trying to murder the Kazon while they were all gathered in one place. I… didn’t expect that. Good one show. You know, aside from the annoying way the show is written to prove that Janeway’s way is the right way, this episode had some genuinely interesting moments what with an A, B, and C story line. I guess my bar is set so low for the show that anything remotely interesting is noteworthy.
In the end Janeway is proven right that they shouldn’t try to form an alliance with anyone. We are rewarded to a big speech where Janeway reasserts that they have to hold true to their values. Sigh.
Most Torturous Moment:
Janeway acting morally superior, telling everyone they’re wrong, and then she’s right like always.
Least Annoying Characters:
Chris Art Accuracy:
Chris manages to capture the feel of the aliens by making them look similar to a real life politician. I feel like he captures more of their inner evil than the episode revealed.
Torture Score: 4 out of 5 Neelixes
*Note: I was informed that the fanfare that appears when the Kazon entered is only on Netflix. That’s even more bizarre! You can see more of a discussion about the reasoning over on Reddit.