Thursday, May 28, 2020

Voyager, Season 7: Repression, Season 7
Airdate: October 25, 2000
149 of 168 produced
148 of 168 aired


Tom and B'Elanna discover a comatose crew mate on their holodeck 1950s movie date, a mystery that leads to a Maquis mutiny.

 "You will never... box... again..."


Kevin: Ugh. This episode is soooooo boring and stupid. Deciding at the top of season 7 to suddenly remember that there are Federation and Maquis crewmembers is some real consistent storytelling, guys.  And the conflict isn't even resurrected in an organic way. The mechanic at the core of this is just painfully stupid, even given the wide berth I've learned to give Vulcan mind meld powers. This feels like a rehash of Mind's Eye, and that episode was far more effective. The motivations of the Romulans are clearer from the outside and the fact that the audience knows from the teaser what is going on adds a sense of dread that the half-hearted attempt at subterfuge here just can't. Tuvok is irrational from literally the first conversation with Janeway and Chakotay. Between Tuvok suddenly following a baseless hunch and the proliferation of Dutch angles pretty much means that Tuvok is responsible. All that would be forgivable if the payoff were interesting. Teero couldn't have known that Voyager would thrown to the Delta Quadrant, so what was his endgame in the first place? He can apparently effortlessly mind control people, so rather than engage in a fifteen step plan to one day having a mole in Starfleet, why not just take over the world now? His plan is just to turn the extant Maquis into zealots? Why not just mind control the Cardassians into surrendering? It's just narrative soup.

Matthew:  I will agree that the setup strains credulity, and the villain's plan makes very little sense. Was it that he wanted some spares around to reactivate in case the Maquis thing went South? And then had to wait for "Pathfinder" in order to reactivate them? How in the world did he get access to Tuvok's son's video call? Are the Maquis going to chug merrily along on 20% personnel strength for 35 years? To what end? But ust to play a bit of Devil's Advocate here, there is another half to the story, and that's the detective mystery. It wasn't Shakespeare by any means (or, shall we say, Grantchester), but it basically functioned as a fun diversion. I liked the switcheroo, having Tuvok investigate himself.

Kevin: This episode is just replete with dumb ideas. I'm just going to say it, but "Pagh t'em far, B'tanay" is right up there with 'allamaraine' in painfully bad Star Trek alien phrases, especially given the number of times they repeat it. Tuvok performed a rogue mind meld on a bunch of people and it didn't occur to anyone, even after they figure out that Tuvok is being mind controlled, that he was trying to.....mind control people. Even the take over was lukewarm. The evil mind control guy made sure they all used the stun setting? None of this made sense and none of this had a clear goal and it made for an episode that verged on painful to watch. At the core, there's just no tension or interest here. Given that the character driving all this is the shadow of a shadow of an actual character, I just don't care about anything.

Matthew: I sort of liked the Maquis-Starfleet tension that this brought up. I also enjoyed getting to know a few more crew members through speaking roles. I think perhaps the episode could have been improved if there had been dissension within the Maquis after their takeover. They could have asked some of these (apt) questions that you've raised, creating some interesting conflict. And we should have gotten a B'Elanna/Tom scene after her activation. I can't believe they left that low-hanging fruit on the branch.


Kevin: Bless Tim Russ. He tried. I mean, he tried. But there is just nothing to latch onto. The mystery is too shallow and too quickly pivots into a Manchurian Candidate to give Tuvok anything to latch onto. No one else gets much to do. Chakotay and Kim get a few lines of indignation at Tuvok's suspicions, but absent anything in the story, nothing really grabbed me.

Matthew: I enjoyed Tim Russ completely until he was flipping out in the brig. Vulcans going ape-doodoo is soemthing that has to be handled carefully, and Tim Russ (not to mention the writers) have done it better previously.

Production Values

Kevin: The torture scenes could have almost worked, if not for the weird sepia toned Vaseline through which they were filmed. Beyond that, so. many. Dutch. angles. I guess I can't say that only Discovery did it. My other complaint is the teaser. That is not the Palace Theatre, It's currently a venue for touring Broadway shows, and has a balcony and was inspired by the palace at Versailles, not the oddly two-dimensional interpretation of art deco they were going for. I'm being a bit pedantic, but there's no reason to name drop when literally no element of the name dropped is being represented. Also, I don't get why this set needed 'programming.' Our experience with the holodeck seems to indicate it can replicate environments, if not dynamic narrative, by plain language request. He should have just been able to ask for a mid-century film theater.

Matthew: Yeah, the theater was a fun little set until they tried to talk it up. It certainly wasn't the Palace, nor was it any other grand theater from the 20s. With that said, I enjoyed the number of extras they populated the set with, and the inclusion of the movie clips (the real 1955 film "Revenge of the Creature," sequel to "Creature from the Black Lagoon") really added some nice ambience.


Kevin: I seriously flirted with a one, but I can't quite get there. This is a bad episode, but it's not offensively bad I suppose. Watching Tim Russ try has got to be worth something, enough, apparently to get this to a 2. Now if you'll excuse me, this episode has put me in a coma for the next day or so...

Matthew: My 2 is more enthusiastic. The story idea was underbaked, but there were kernels of an interesting detective plot here. Nonetheless, the setup is dumb, and no really great character development was created by it. So that's a 4 total.

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