Friday, May 23, 2014

Voyager, Season 2: Resolutions
Voyager, Season 2
Airdate: May 13, 1996
40 of 168 produced
40 of 168 aired


Having contracted an incurable disease that only lies dormant within its native biome, Janeway and Chakotay must remain on an alien world while the crew continues its journey home.

Hope you enjoyed it, 'shippers... 'cause this is alllll you're gonna get.


Matthew: OK, so at the outset, some big questions make themselves apparent to the astute viewer. Why were both Janeway and Chakotay in a position to be infected by this incurable (but not fatal?) virus? It hearkens back to the days of Kirk Spock and McCoy barreling into dangerous situations without regard for the chain of command. Then, once they are on the planet, what are the odds that an alien world would have one, but only one, massively infectious pathogen that humans would be susceptible to? This episode is not alone with this sin of exobiology (not to mention an obviously Earth-evolved primate), but it is more apparent here because the disease is a story point. Finally, why wouldn't the crew just build a life on the planet? That is, why did everyone just decide to leave the Captain and Chakotay there? Was there no dissent among the crew? This question is similar to the one posed by "The 37s."

Kevin: I agree. I understand the need to sculpt the story to create exactly this problem. They need to be stuck somewhere, foreseeably forever, and actually be building a life. If they were just stranded somewhere, the presumption of rescue or the preoccupation with survival takes over the other story. The idea of keeping the captain on the ship is pretty much designed to prevent exactly the situation we got. If they wanted to go the pathogen route, it really should have been two lower ranking officers, like B'Elanna and Tom or something. This would have been a prime use of the Iconian gateway or something like the time machine from "All Our Yesterdays," where they could have been more credibly trapped with no realistic hope of rescue.

Matthew: All criticism aside, both sides of this episode's story are really well told. We got a lot of nice crew reactions to the news, and chafing against Tuvok's lack of emotion. Harry's scenes of being insubordinate to Tuvok were especially good for his character, giving him a lot of life. It was interesting to see Tom be the one to rein him in, then to see him conspiring with his fellow crew members. It is interesting, too, that Harry goes to Tuvok with their plan - it is consistent with his character and tells us a lot about him. Tuvok is in the right all the way through, professional with Harry, accepting his apology, but being stern about his insubordination.

Kevin: The emotional core of the episode definitely overcomes the sins in the construction (and even the resolution for that matter). Tuvok in command obviously pulls in notes of "The Galileo Seven" from TOS, and Voyager's own "Learning Curve." This is way more successful since Tuvok is, technically speaking, completely correct, but the crew's emotions entirely understandable. Focusing on Harry was a good call. He would be the least able just to let go of any crew member, let alone his commanding officers. The scene is Tuvok's quarters was great, and I like how Kes managed to nudge him into action.

Matthew: On the planet-side end, we got a really nice farewell speech for Janeway - but why not one for Chakotay? Tuvok just sort of talks over the time slot that he might have had. I really wish we had been given his farewell to the Maquis crew.  The romantic tension between the two was really nicely paced. The "did they or didn't they" question is treated quite ambiguously. I think the way it was shot indicates that they did. But with such an ambiguous treatment, I wish they would have raised the stakes and unquestionably done the deal, since they then had to go back on it later and live with the consequences. I think this would have been a really nice contrast to prior Star Trek unrequited dyads - showing us the messy aftermath of fraternization between crew members.

Kevin: The lack of goodbye speech for Chakotay was a bit of a needle scratch for me. That all being said, the rest of the planet stuff worked great. I agree that they should have actually done it, and then had to deal with the consquences afterwards. I mean...he built her a bathtub. I think in anyone's tribal traditions, building a woman a bathub is as close as it gets to a mating dance. My issue with chickening out aside, the chemistry itself built really nicely. The softening resolve played really well.

Matthew: I thought the final third was pretty exciting, with some nice battle scenes and some good action tension. It was quite a big coincidence that Pel has knowledge of a pathogen on a random planet, and I kind of wondered why, having been betrayed by her superiors, why Denara Pel didn't just join the crew. One minor irritant: Isn't their sustainable cruising velocity 9.975? There's a lot of warp 6 and warp 8 going on in this epsiode.

Kevin: This felt too deus ex machina for me. How are they still in comm range of Denara? Having her join the crew is a nifty idea. How does she have exactly what they need? As much as I enjoyed the tension on the ship, I think keeping the focus on the pair and their life on the planet with no clear sense of if and when the crew would get them might have ramped up the tension in that story. The warp thing doesn't bother me, as I imagine gunning it constantly might cause more wear and tear or fuel consumption.


Matthew: This was a really nice episode that was focused almost entirely on the main cast. Garret Wang and Tim Russ had some excellent scenes, with a good crackling tension. I enjoyed the notes of Wang with the other crew members, too. This was a very good Harry show all told.

Kevin: We have critiqued Wang's acting before, but he is definitely good here. The tension with Russ, like you say, is spot on. I liked seeing Russ in a command role. He did a good job at being a taskmaster without coming off like a Jellico.

Matthew: I think it was a sin to cheat Robert Beltran out of his own farewell speech. Nonetheless, he ably portrayed a guy who wanted to make a move but felt hamstrung by certain caveats or conventions. Both he and Kate Mulgrew showed some good chemistry, and their romantic tension was totally believable. I wish they had been given one or two more scenes of budding romance to really sell the chemistry between the characters completely.

Kevin: I agree totally on both counts. I liked the way Beltran was honest but not pushy with his intentions. It was obvious their being thrown together was a result of the circumstances, but it was nice that neither the writers nor the actors treated the romance as a foregone conclusion. I wish they had actually done something, but that's a writing problem. Portraying such a strange situation surrounding a budding romance can't be easy, and both actors did a bang up job.

Production Values

Matthew: I likes the look of the Starfleet gear and the modular shelter. I thought it totally fit the aesthetic while also still looking practical. Planet California looked nice as always, with a nice glade for their action to occur in.

Kevin: The modular shelter was great. I liked all the props. The little traps and science equipment looked great. I liked a lot of the personal effects in the cabin.

Matthew: As far as wardrobe, we got a lot of nice dresses for Janeway, but just what kind of Amish getup is Chakotay wearing? The visual effects were pretty good, with good storm effects and green lightning. The music really stuck out for me - we got a really great cue in the teaser, and when Tuvok chooses to reverse policy. The slower, more mournful pieces that Dennis McCarthy uses to create variations on the main Voyager themes do a great job of conveying emotion.

Kevin: I liked the storm as well. The damage to the building and equipment looked good too. I liked the clothes too, though I thought the collar on one Janeway's dresses read a little sister-wife.


Matthew: This is a pretty solid 4 for me. It would have been a 5 had we been given a more solid portrayal of the romance, and its consequences. But as it stands it's above average all the way around.

Kevin: I am going with the three. I think the forced set up and resolution coupled with the whiff on really doing something interesting with the set up keep this from higher territory. As crazy as it sounds, I am more annoyed by this dodge than I was by the one in "Attached." It's still a good episode, and the acting is superb, but the plot problems are just a bit too much for me to give the 4. That's a total of 7.

No comments:

Post a Comment