Archive for January, 2013

Trekathon 636: Endgame, Part 1 (VOY)

January 31st, 2013

Admiral Janeway tries to save Voyager from 16 years in the Delta Quadrant (out of 23).

A great episode with a couple of small missteps. About half the episode is spent in the ‘future’, and other than some dodgy special effects makeup it’s everything that you would want. The ‘present’ Voyager part is also strong, setting up a potentially interesting conflict with the Borg, and showing some real growth in Paris and Kim’s characters.

The main missteps are a silly ‘Paris is panicky father from central casting’ bit towards the start, a bit of a Klingon brick wall 2/3 of the way through the episode, and some George Lucas-level romantic dialogue between Seven and Chakotay.

But really it’s all setup. But it would be nice if Voyager can take a terrible season and at least make a decent fist at a good ending.

636 down, 101 to go.

Trekathon 635: Renaissance Man (VOY)

January 30th, 2013

The Doctor goes rogue to save the Captain.

A few bumpy moments, but overall a clever story that actually makes some good use of the Doctor’s holographic abilities. As lampshaded at the start of the episode, in many ways the Doctor is the most capable crew member, as demonstrated by his successful takeover of the ship. Unfortunately his judgment is still a bit lacking, as demonstrated by his gullibility.

The main weakness of the story is in that gullibility though. It’s one thing to be gullible, quite another to be gullible while people are shouting the truth at you from the sidelines. The Doctor isn’t that stupid, is he? But for me that was made up for by the action sequences in the chase with Tuvok, which make good use of the hologram.

635 down, 102 to go. And just one story (two episodes) to go in Voyager.

Trekathon 634: Homestead (VOY)

January 29th, 2013

Neelix falls in love and leads a revolution.

Even knowing that this is the last season, and only three episodes left after this one, it was a surprise to see an actual ‘series changing’ thing happen. Neelix’s departure is earned here. We get a good review of what he means to the crew, and why he might want to stay. And we see a situation that is realistically more tempting to him than Voyager. It’s nice plotting.

But not nice writing, unfortunately. The conflict between the Talaxians and the miners is painted in such broad strokes that it renders the conclusion obvious. It’s lazy writing, just setting up a simple conflict that doesn’t create any ethical dilemmas. Real people (and, I suspect, real aliens) are a lot more complex than the miners are given credit for here.

(Oh, and another misuse of the Prime Directive. Urk. Plus more evidence that Naomi Wildman’s mother has been completely forgotten).

634 down, 103 to go.

Trekathon 633: Natural Law (VOY)

January 28th, 2013

Tom Paris gets a speeding ticket.

OK, fine, that’s just the idiotic B-plot. Perhaps if the humor it was so obviously played for had worked I wouldn’t have been so annoyed.

The rest of the episode is pretty standard ‘noble savage’ stuff, with Seven of Nine learning another lesson about the ‘value of primitive cultures’. There are some nice portrayals of first contact anthropology, but that’s not enough to sustain the story. The final act, with the previously reasonable aliens turning colonialist, suffered from a bad case of the logic gaps. Maybe the very powerful starship could be allowed to leave before you start surveying your new area.

633 down, 104 to go.

Trekathon 632: Friendship One (VOY)

January 27th, 2013

Voyager gets its second real mission in the course of the show.

Not a bad defence of the Prime Directive, although I think that it’s a bit unfair to really blame Humanity for the planetwide catastrophe that this kicked off. It would be nice if people remembered that there are quite a few non-Humans in the crew. The subtle racism of the Federation is actually growing a bit disturbing at this point.

My biggest problem with the episode is the ‘quick fix’ at the end. It makes the problem less significant if technobabble handwaving can magically cure the planet. It would be a much more interesting dramatic situation to deal with if the problem was irreversible, and Voyager was honestly faced with the choice of delaying the return home to make amends for earlier generations errors. But maybe I’ve just been watching too much Battlestar Galactica.

(The first mission, by the way, was the one at the start where Voyager was hunting down some rogue Maquis. You know, the premise.)

632 down, 105 to go.

Trekathon 631: Author, Author (VOY)

January 26th, 2013

The Doctor writes the great Holo-Novel.

There’s a lot of different plot going on here! First, the Doctor turns out to be a terrible writer, who is lucky that defamation law appears to have been weakened in the future. Second, we have a ‘is the Doctor a person’ legal dispute that harks back to some of the great TNG episodes. And Third, we have a ‘Seven learning to be a person’ subplot that for once isn’t too forced.

I enjoyed everything – the Doctor’s novel is appropriately hamfisted, but still based somewhat in truth. And the legal dispute is quick, but has some satisfying philosophical discussions. It’s all pretty good.

But it could have been great. For instance, why not play the contrast between a hologram who has become a person, but has no rights, with Seven’s still-developing own humanity. Or the crew could have spent more time reacting to their portrayal by the Doctor. Or perhaps we could have seen a bit more of the other EMH’s and their new life (the 30 second coda is unintentionally chilling). Missed opportunities once again.

631 down, 106 to go.