Voyager Torture: Elogium (Episode 20 Season 2)

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Voyager Torture features Vincent reviewing an episode of Star Trek Voyager that he’s seen for the first time and Chris Piers drawing an image based on that episode that he’s never seen.

“Good work, Commander. In the future, if I have any questions about mating behavior, I’ll know where to go.” – Captain Janeway

I really want to let you people know what kind of sacrifice I’m making here. It’s Monday night and I’m late with Voyager Torture. I’ve got a couple of hours of “free” time, which I should probably devote to important projects. What do I do instead? Watch Star Trek: Voyager, robbing me of precious time. We’ve only got so much time on this Earth and here I am torturing myself in order to get this done this week. I hope someone out there is grateful.

Anyway, this episode of Star Trek: Voyager kicks off with Chakotay catching two crew members making out in a turbo lift. And Kes and Paris are bringing cabbage to Neelix and I realize… oh fuuuuck it’s a Neelix heavy episode. When Neelix sees Kes with Paris he acts like a jealous asshole to Kes.

Now hold up. 99% of the time we’ve seen Neelix and Kes together he’s flat out acted like a jerk. He’s either jealous, talking down to her, or just being a dick. I can only believe that Kes has low self esteem and that’s why she’s in this abusive relationship.

Anyway, the Voyager decides to check out some space sperm (seriously there’s just giant sperms in space) because why should they try to get home when they can look at some space sperms along the way? In another insult to the intelligence of the audience we’re told that the space sperm move through space by wiggling their tails back and forth. Space is a vacuum. With this kind logic a propeller driven aircraft should work in space. Oh, and the CGI used with the space sperms is bad. 1990s era TV bad, but that’s the least of the problems with this episode. In the meanwhile, Kes is eating like a maniac, starting off with hand fulls of bugs. And dirt.

Neelix treats Kes badly

Neelix rushes Kes to the Doctor who yells at Neelix to get out when he becomes overbearing. Yay! And Kes is getting worse. It turns out that… Kes is going through a premature mating cycle! And this is yet another episode that could easily become some sexy ass fan fiction.

In another twist, Kes can only go into birthing mode once in her life! Oh no! And now Neelix might have to become a dad!

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Neelix… mating… nooo!!

Speaking of complicated mating rituals, the writers came up with a completely impractical formula for Kes’s species to propagate. Let’s use our brains for a second. Kes has a life span of 9 years. In that 9 years she can only give birth ONCE. How could they possibly have a birth rate increase or even a stable birth rate? If just a few of their species choose not to mate or they have too many boys or girls in one generation they’re seriously fucked.

And not only is this ridiculous that her mating ritual is so complex that it’s yet another hurdle for her species to jump through. She tells Neelix that during the process they have to be stuck together for six days. Six days! Imagine this alien race as primitives trying to mate. How would they fend off predators in that state? Not only this, but she needs her feet rubbed so her tongue gets bigger. How would a species possibly evolve to be like this?!

If the Caretaker hadn’t screwed up and then tried to keep them alive, surely their self defeating procreation process would have rendered them extinct.

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I appreciate how difficult this guy’s job really must have been.

Anyway, how in the fuck can Kes and Neelix mate anyway? The mating ritual Kes describes sounds so strange and species specific. I realize that in Star Trek they play a little fast and loose with DNA and what not, but you have to figure some species just wouldn’t mix.

This whole thing leads to Chakotay and Janeway talking about letting the crew have kids, because the mission might become a generational one. Why didn’t the Voyager have kids on it? Did Starfleet wise up and not put kids on a sometimes military vessel? Or was it so a bunch of kids wouldn’t have been murdered in the pilot episode?

The rest of the episode is Neelix wondering if he should be a dad. And terrible CGI space sperms causing trouble with the ship. This ship wide danger stuff is like generic “Star Trek Episode 3A Plot.” Anyway, Kes doesn’t have the baby, so she’s normal again and can have a baby in the future.

Hey, want to hear something fun? I totally wrote that last sentence before I finished the episode. This series is that predictable. The show wants to have its cake and eat it too. They want dramatic situation, but are too chickenshit to actually go through with it. Why would they need real drama when they can just hit the reset button at the end of the episode? And yes, I know that the original series did the same thing and Next Gen mostly did too, but over on DS9 there were real consequences that occurred that the characters couldn’t simply shrug off.

You know what would be really interesting? A crew having to face dwindling resources too far from home. You know, they have the very real danger of running out of energy, torpedoes, and shuttles. But guess what? The series writer’s just ignore or come up with magic reasons to defeat these obstacles that they themselves created. Why have an emotional and dramatic shift for a character when you can simply say that they’re okay by the end of the episode. On Voyager there’s no consequences. The writers are constantly toying with logic and playing it safe in order to maintain a status quo. And it’s not just me saying that, director Winrich Kolbe, director of this very episode said, that, “the show went soft at the end.” (according to Wikipedia sourced to Star Trek Voyager Magazine),

But hey, at least Neelix realized he wants to be a dad someday.

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Star Trek Voyager has tried its best to break me this week, but guess what Brannon Braga? THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!

Least Annoying Characters:

The Doctor, Janeway (savor it, Janeway fans), Tuvok

Most Torturous Moment:

Having to think about Neelix as a sexual being.

Chris Art Accuracy: While Kes didn’t react to Neelix’s overbearing bossiness and cockitude in this manner, I believe it’s a much more and accurate representation of how someone would feel being caught eating bugs and being treated like dirt. Also, you didn’t see the Space Sperm outside her window, but it adds a nice overall detail to the piece.

Torture Score: 5 out of 5 Neelixes

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  • April G

    You pretty much nailed this one, complete with your statement about the fanfic spawned from this ep. Even hard core fans like myself have a hard time swallowing this one. I can say Voyager didn’t have kids on it from the beginning because their original mission was for three weeks. This ep is one of a few I have been awaiting the review for since the beginning of Vogager Torture.

  • Chris Piers

    I’ve never watched Voyager, but I believe that in the world of Star Trek, the Next Gen Enterprise was fairly unique for having families and kids. It was an experiment. One that admittedly does not make much sense when you have your flagship “science vessel” constantly getting into fights with Romulans and Cardassians.

  • Well I’m glad I nailed it. Also thanks for not ruining the “surprise”. As I was watching I was thinking, “Oh this is going to be another stinker episode” and it just kept getting worse.

  • Maybe on screen danger is an aberration and most Star Fleet vessels are actually safe, but the amount of damage we see done to them in the series makes me wonder why any sane parent would take their kid along for a ride.

  • Somebody

    I’ve got to say, I am loving these. It’s like re watching Voyager myself, except without the excruciating pain and questioning my will to go on living. Thanks!

  • It’s comments like these that keep me torturing myself. That and tremendous amounts of self loathing.