The last two episodes of Star Trek Voyager weren’t too bad. I thought that maybe, just maybe, the show had turned a corner and now we’d get mild to okay episodes… but no. Investigations is a treat. A poop-covered treat covered in poop (I’m going to be the next Angry Video Game Nerd).
The very start of the episode begins with Neelix doing some sort of TV show. It’s so annoying that that this episode of Voyager already starts off with a full 5 Neelix heads and must work its way down. It turns out that Neelix is creating this show to keep everyone on the ship informed on goings on and spread good news, as well as helpful information. If this was any other character it would be fine, but this is Neelix. Who the fuck on Voyager would watch a Neelix-hosted show?
The answer is Ensign Kim, who tells Neelix that he should include more hard hitting journalism in the show and not just all this fluff. And then I sink into the abyss when I realize this is an episode focusing on Neelix being a hard hitting investigative reporter.
Meanwhile, another Telaxian (Neelix species) contacts Neelix to tell him that they’re due to meet up with the Voyager to take a crewmember who is leaving. Neelix runs to the Captain to ask her about it, since he’s a “journalist” that smells a story. Janeway and Tuvok inform him that it’s Tom Paris that’s leaving. For those that don’t remember, in the last couple of episodes Paris was acting like a slouch and a jerk. Turns out he’s had enough and he’s leaving Voyager.
Okay, so let me get this straight. A person who has intimate knowledge of Voyager’s technology, command structure, and Starfleet operations wants to leave and they’re just letting him go in a sector of space where sworn enemies of the Voyager have a lot of power. Sure, just go off and take all your top secret knowledge with you!
So Tom leaves and Neelix gets on his TV show and gives a really stirring tribute to him. It was actually kind of nice.
During the next staff meeting Torres is called to engineering by Jonas who has been shown as the mole for several episodes. Seems like there’s some sort of techno babble failure that involves the warp nacelles. Last episode the evil villain Seska had ordered Jonas to sabotage the ship. So this is that then. They fail to stop the damage and the ship has to vent plasma blah blah they’re in trouble. Surprisingly, the crew doesn’t seem all freaked out about the fact they can’t go to warp.
The Voyager then gets a distress call from the Telaxians that had taken Paris with them. They report they were attacked by the Kazon who kidnapped Paris (of course). It seemed to the Telaxians that the Kazon must have known that Paris was on that ship and they were there to get him (no shit). Neelix runs his tiny brain into overdrive and suspects that must mean there’s a mole on board the Voyager.
I can’t help but feel that it was a little too convenient that the Kazon left the Telaxians alive to report back to Voyager. I feel like in almost all other Star Trek series would have had the Voyager finding them just as they blew up and then had to figure out through evidence that it was the Kazon that destroyed them.
Anyway, I made a prediction last Voyager Torture post. I said that this whole Tom Paris acting out thing was all a ruse in order to have Paris figure out who the mole was. Guess what?! I was right! Okay, nobody should be surprised that the writers of Voyager ran with an incredibly predictable story. However, it is surprising that they did it this way… through a Neelix episode. It’s like Paris didn’t have to do anything to figure out who the mole was.
I often compare Voyager to Next Generation in that Voyager’s bad episodes feel worse than Next Generation’s bad episodes. And okay episodes of Voyager feel like bad episodes of Next Gen. Maybe this isn’t entirely true, but it’s interesting when you see common themes that were used successfully on Next Generation and completely botched on Voyager. For instance, the Paris becoming a mole thing felt like when Riker played the part of an insubordinate Starfleet officer infiltrating a mercenary ship in the two part episode Gambit. On Next Gen it worked, because Riker is such a good character and his part in it didn’t feel tacked on. Why does it feel like Paris’s infiltration is a last minute addition? Because it was. The way the writers wrote it almost all the action was delivered through talking on Neelix’s stupid show. The studio made them go back and film the Paris action scenes.
Paris meets Seska on the Kazon vessel. She doesn’t really believe that Paris is a discontented Starfleet officer. Still, she tells him her plan to ambush the Voyager with Kazon vessels and then she leaves him alone in a room with a computer. Of course he has a hidden device that he can plug into the computer to try to search their logs.
One more tangent: Seska mentions ships coming or laying in wait for the Voyager along with ground troops. Ground troops is such a bad term, because it made me think for a second, “If they’re on the ground how are they going to get on the ship?” Maybe she should have said “boarding troops”, “space marines”, or something to indicate they wouldn’t be, well, ground-based?
Okay, so back to the episode. There’s a scene where Neelix is looking through computer logs and Jonas is behind him knowing that Neelix is getting close to the truth. Jonas picks up some sort of laser cutter and slowly (and I mean painfully slowly) walks up behind to kill Neelix. At this point my girlfriend and I were screaming at the screen, “Do it! Kill him! Do it! Do it!!!” the only thing that saves Neelix is the Doctor appearing on a screen to chastise Neelix for not having him on his show that day. Damn it!
Another tangent: So if someone wants to “call you” on the Voyager apparently they just pop up on the screen and start talking, at least in this episode. There’s no hitting a button or anything to answer? Seems kind of inconvenient. You’re sitting there doing something embarrassing like looking at porno and taking care of business and BLAM, Neelix is on the screen asking about radishes.
Neelix does some more investigating and with a little help figures out that the subspace communications to the Kazon were being sent out via a terminal. He heads to the deck, determined to search every terminal. He just waltzes into Paris’s unoccupied room and finds the terminal that implicates Paris as the mole. Weird how he can just walk in there like that. Cool that nobody locks their doors on Voyager despite there previously being a cold blooded murderer amongst them at one point.
So Neelix decides to do his journalistic duty and reveal his findings on his dumb TV show. Janeway, Tuvok, and Chakotay meet with Neelix to discuss this. After all, Tuvok, who is head of security, asked Neelix to stay out of this. For this breach in security Neelix should get his ass kicked off the ship. Instead, they decide to use him as a pawn to lure the real mole out (there’s still hope he’ll get killed yet!). Anyway, they explain the whole plan to Neelix who somehow doesn’t blab it on his TV show like you think he would because he’s a fucking idiot.
Back on the Kazon ship Paris finds a log that contains a conversation with Jonas and Seska, so he knows who the real mole is! Except, during the previous scene Chakotay implicated Jonas in the conversation, so Paris is basically risking his life for nothing. After some “exciting” action Paris escapes on a Kazon ship and heads back to the Voyager!
He hails them as he’s under fire. Janeway orders engineering to restore transporters so they can beam Paris to safety. Of course Jonas is in engineering with Neelix. Neelix notices Jonas isn’t fixing the transporters. Instead he’s shutting off weapons and putting up a force field so nobody can get into engineering. Oh, and instead of doing the sensible thing and killing Neelix, he lets Neelix live so he can try and stop him.
Why are Jonas and Neelix the only ones in engineering? Aren’t they supposed to be working very hard on rebuilding the warp drive? Did they all take a break at one time? Edit: I guess I missed that Jonas somehow got everyone to leave except Neelix. Man, this guy is a genius. Goes undetected and uncaught for a long time, sabotages the ship while looking like a hero, and then isolates himself in order to take over engineering.
Neelix ends up fighting Jonas and he just happens to pull a reversal which ends up with Jonas falling into an open plasma stream and being instantly vaporized. This leads to the transporters working again, Paris being saved, and Voyager changing course to avoid all those, “ground troops.”
The episode ends with Neelix and Paris talking about how Paris really wasn’t a jerk and getting some yucks about it. Nobody talks about how sad it was that one of their own was a spy and was killed. I can only hope that Neelix has nightmares about killing a man.
Least Annoying Characters:
Most Torturous Moment:
The opening few minutes were pure torture made more torturous with the knowledge that this was going to be a Neelix episode.
Chris Art Accuracy:
Oh man. I love this picture. The show has him completely vaporize at once though, because they have a shitty budget. Neelix’s outfit is deliciously crappy and something you’d see on the show.
Torture Score: 5 out of 5 Neelixes