Star Trek Voyager annoyed me to no end last episode, so for Deadlock I was ready to settle in and prepare for bad. I wasn’t prepared for a different type of bad. Let’s get this over with…
Last episode, Investigations, ended an annoyingly long story arc and this episode does the same. For several episodes we’ve got to deal with this pregnant crew member. Well after a discussion with Neelix (who is trying to get her to fix everything in his kitchen… what an asshole) she goes into labor.
The Voyager crew has found themselves in a system where there are two planets all inhabitated by Vidiians. These are the aliens that have a super gross disease and are known for stealing people’s organs and skin… well except for the one nice one that the Doctor fell in love with (see Voyager Torture’s Lifesigns).
Janeway orders the ship to go into some sort of “plasma drift” to avoid detection and get away. The Voyager does avoid the Vidiians and all appears to be well before there’s all kinds of explosions and what not. The ship has some sort of “antimatter drain”. Janeway tells Torres to fix it by doing some sort of procedure… okay we’ve got to address this. Janeway keeps being shown as knowing everything on the ship. I’m sure a Captain has to know a lot like every Captain, however it feels different on Voyager. Not only does she know the ins and outs of Command, but she seems to be an expert at piloting, scientific research, and engineering. And she seems pretty hands on in performing the tasks that her subordinates are supposed to perform.
Torres is the Chief Engineer. Don’t you think she would have at least considered the option that Janeway brought up? This is her subject of expertise. Torres looks incompetent when the Captain has to tell her how to do her job. Think of the dynamic between Kirk and Scotty. Kirk would ask Scotty what the problem was, Scotty would tell him. Kirk would demand Scotty fix it. He wouldn’t tell him how to exactly do that, because it’s Scotty’s damned job. On Next Generation, Geordi would often present a solution or options to the Captain and the captain would give his consent, not tell him exactly how to do his job. This might seem petty; however, it seems to keep happening on this series and it drives me nuts every time I see it.
Anyway, when Torres generates a “proton burst” the ship is hit by bursts from seemingly out of nowhere and they can’t really do anything to stop it. The ship is all kinds of damaged with people piling into sickbay, including Neelix! Yay! And even though he seems to have a superficial wound to his face the Doctor seems to think it’s a priority. Sorry Neelix, on my ship you’re last in line for triage. Meanwhile, the baby from the start of the show is having problems and is put in an incubator.
The ship takes more damage from these bursts and to make matters worse, there’s a hull breach and the force fields are offline. Kim has a plan to set up an emergency force field generator and he goes off to do so with Torres. At the same time the bridge crew tries to magnetize the hull to save them somehow and in sickbay the baby’s condition gets worse and worse. While they’re trying to save the baby my girlfriend said, “They should ask Janeway what to do.” Snap.
Soon after, the baby dies. And then after that Ensign Kim gets sucked out of the ship. And Kes just disappears as she’s running to help an injured crewman Hogan. The ship is in some series shit! There’s tons of damage and lots of injured crew members.
Let’s take a break here. With not only Kim dead, but a freaking baby dying this can’t possibly be the “real” Voyager. My prediction for this episode was that at the end everything would return to the status quo, simply due to the fact that the writers always pull their punches. There’s almost never any real dramatic consequences (plus, I think I would have heard over the years that Voyager was a show that killed a baby and that Kim had died.)
I really like comparing Voyager episodes to similar Next Generation ones, simply because the Next Gen ones that are most similar usually work where the Voyager ones fail. At this point in the series I came up with several episodes that I thought this one would be like and settled on Cause and Effect and Time Squared as the most likely. Cause and Effect begins with the Enterprise blowing up and they continue blowing up until they figure out how to stop it. Time Squared features a second Captain Picard that’s from a little further ahead in the future who is attempting to stop the destruction of the Enterprise. More on this in a bit.
Okay, back to this episode. Just when the crew thinks things have stabilized, more bursts damage the ship, causing fires and an evacuation of the bridge. Things are really not looking good. It’s at this point I figured we were looking at the Voyager that would be blown up, i.e. not the “Prime” one. Anyway, Janeway stays at her station for an extra minute or two being a big hero, because after all why would any of the other crew members shine and just as she’s leaving the bridge she sees a “ghost” image of herself in the Command chair.
Cut to the bridge that doesn’t have any damage or injuries with Janeway in her chair. Let’s call this Voyager Alpha (and the other one Beta), since it’s obvious there are two Voyagers that exist at this point. Janeway Alpha sees a ghost image of the injured Janeway Beta leaving the bridge. Since Janeway Alpha lives in the Star Trek universe where crazy shit happens all the time, she doesn’t immediately dismiss it. Kim Beta (still alive) says he found a distortion that only lasted a millisecond. We also get to see the healthy baby being born and everyone is peachy keen. The weird part is that there’s a second Kes (Beta) that shows up and is in sickbay, kinda like Next Gen’s Time Squared.
Unlike Time Squared Kes Beta is up and about and talks to Janeway Alpha until they figure out what is going on. Voyager Alpha is sending out proton bursts that are the cause of all the death and destruction on the Voyager Beta. Whoopsie! Janeway Alpha orders Torres Alpha to immediately suspend the bursts.
The crew of Voyager Alpha figure out that when they went into the plasma drift some nonsense happened where the Voyager was split into two copies and sort of coexist at the same time. The only thing that couldn’t copy was the antimatter, so basically both ships are drawing off energy from one warp core. They get to work on trying to contact the other Voyager as well as figuring out how to get Kes Beta back.
The two Voyager crews manage to establish contact with each other and they formulate a plan to do some technobabble to merge themselves, but it only causes more problems and threatens to destroy both ships. Even worse, the plan breaks the warp engine and both ships will be out of power in 30 minutes.
So Janeway ends up meeting with herself to discuss plans further. They can’t separate the ships, since they can’t coexist at the same time. And they can’t transport the crew from the damaged Voyager Beta to the other ship, because that will somehow destroy both ships as well. They’re pretty much written into a corner here. It’s then Janeway Beta comes up with a brilliant plan: She’s going to self destruct her Voyager so the other crew can continue to live. It’s pretty selfless, but they’re pretty much fucked anyway and they’re going to save “themselves” in a way.
Janeway Alpha heads back to her ship and bad news, both ships detect a Vidiian ship on its way. But that’s not all! Thanks to all the power drains and damage weapons and shields won’t be online for another three hours, well after the Vidiians will arrive.
Let’s take a moment and talk about the Vidiians again. They’ve turned out to be a rather interesting enemy and… damn it. I like they idea of them. They don’t want to just kill you or assimilate you. They want to use your organs. They’re so much more interesting than the Kazon.
But lets not get too excited praising Voyager yet, because I have a major rant. The Vidiians board Voyager Alpha and steamroll the ship. It’s like the Starfleet crew has NO FUCKING CLUE how to fight a ship based battle. We get to see both Tuvok and Paris get knocked out and the Vidiians immediately go about the process of beginning to harvest their organs.
Why the fuck is it this easy for the Vidiians to roll on through Voyager Alpha like this? Starfleet has encountered numerous hostile races including the warrior culture of the Klingons. They’ve fought invading Borg. There was a war with Cardassia. You’re telling me that Starfleet hasn’t had training for exactly this type of situation? Someone mentions being outnumbered 2:1. While that might seem like a lot, this is home turf. Where are the defensive positions? Why are they just running around with small phasers like idiots getting shot? Half the crew is made up of the Marquis who are experts at guerrilla warfare! This defies any logic that the Vidiians would have such an easy time invading the ship!
Ugh, so Janeway Alpha decides to be the one to self destruct her ship, since the Viddians have totally won and are going to have not only the crew, but the Voyager as well. Didn’t see this happening, usually it’s the one in dire straights in these types of stories that goes. She sends Kim Alpha to Voyager Beta along with the baby, because it will be an even trade type situation. Kim Alpha gets to do a cool roll/shooting thing when he rescues the baby from sickbay to bring over to Voyager Beta.
Okay, another rant! When Janeway orders self destruct she only has to give a short code and her authorization. It requires no secondary authorization. Every other time in Star Trek we’ve seen at least two crew members needed to order self destruct. In Star Trek III it required three bridge officers. They live in a world where mind control, evil duplicates, alien parasites, and shape shifters exist. It’s completely and utterly unbelievable that Starfleet would have a self destruct system that would require the authorization of only one crew member, even if that crew member is the Captain!
There is one cool moment when the Vidiians make it to the bridge and Janeway warmly welcomes them, they have a second of victory before they realize that the computer is counting down self destruct and the ship blows the fuck up.
Somehow, this doesn’t damage the duplicate Voyager (Beta). I’m really lost on how the energy bursts could fuck it all up, but somehow the Vidiians couldn’t get to them or the self destruction ship doesn’t do anything, but whatever. I’m mentally checking out.
One more thing set me into a rage of anger: Now that Kim and baby Alpha are on Voyager Beta everything is wonderful. Nobody even mentions the fact that Kim Beta died and they don’t seem to give a damn. Their Kim fucking died! Sure, they got a replacement, but HE DIED. They don’t even have a moment of silence or a funeral for him. I can see them not being as sad for their duplicates, since they’d view themselves as the originals, but their Kim and their baby died. Apparently in Star Trek you’re totally replaceable and you can end on a happy note even when one of your own is killed and replaced by a duplicate.
Deadlock could have been really good and has a decent premise, however the fact that they completely disregard logic and how the Star Trek world should work (and has shown to work) makes it completely infuriating. I do like that the heavily damaged ship was the one that survived and if this was a good show I’m sure it would really pay off in the next couple of episodes. But this is Voyager.
Least Annoying Characters:
Kim, The Doctor, Kes
Most Torturous Moment:
Realizing that the writers seem to have no regard for story and write for plot, bending and shaping to drive it along without actually thinking (or addressing) the consequences.
Chris Art Accuracy:
Chris somehow got the incredible sexual tension in that moment. I really wanted the Janeways to make out.
Torture Score: 5 out of 5 Neelixes