Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Voyager, Season 7: Nightingale

http://www.treknobabble.net/p/rating-system.htmlVoyager, Season 7
Airdate: November 22, 2000
153 of 168 produced
152 of 168 aired


Harry finds himself in a difficult spot after he agrees to help an alien race, but learns that they engaged him under false pretenses.

I question Harry's commitment to this assignment, if he is not bringing his primary instrument, the clarinet.


Kevin: I have a strong recollection of being bored by this episode when I watched it back in 2000, and I have to say after a rewatch, I have not really budged from that position. I think my broad problem with the episode is that this episode should have happened in season 2 or 3. Waiting until season 7 to remember to do some basic character development feels like showrunning malpractice. Wesley got this episode in season 2, and it was handled with more interest. The specific problem with the way to they did it here is that I just don't care. The aliens of the week have an ill-defined conflict that has no stakes. If you want to show Kim in charge with some consequences...how about put him in charge of...I don't know...Voyager?

Matthew: I absolutely agree that Harry should have had an episode along these lines earlier. I do like some of the dialogue touches, though, such as Harry saying he's always been Buster Kincaid to Tom's Captain Proton. I also like that they didn't go for the "Harry has a boner for some alien hottie this week" angle. But yes, indeed, we did not learn enough about the aliens of the week to really be able to care. We can only care about Harry's end of things.

Kevin: None of the elements of the plot really work either. If it was really a top secret prototype, wouldn't everyone be at least capable of basic piloting? Also, wasn't it obvious they were lying? I can hear Zap Brannigan decry their "sudden but inevitable betrayal" as if Billy West were in the room with me. Wouldn't Janeway do some follow up to make sure that the story was legit? Even if it were just a medical transport, it still feels like they are bending the Prime Directive beyond the breaking point. And the B plot with Icheb's crush on Torres was pretty silly filler, and coming on the heels of last week's pon farr schtick, it feels like some twelve year olds got a hold of the B-plot assignments this season.

Matthew: As far as the alien's seemingly obvious betrayal of confidence, what I didn't get was what moral lesson we were supposed to draw from it. Harry was maybe goaded against his better judgment into taking the job because of his personal frustration. OK. Then he finds out it was a mistake, because he is helping people who gave false pretenses. He doesn't learn about why they are at war, and his fulfilling his role would grant them a strategic advantage. He should quit! And he says, I quit, and then Seven talks him out of it, telling him he is quitting because of a bruised ego. Um, no, he's quitting because it's wrong to get entangled in this! Seven's whole schtick was weird. Who is she to dispense hard-won interpersonal relations advice to Harry, who has been a legit human, with actual command responsibilities, for far longer than she?

I have to say, I basically enjoyed the B-plot. I think it gave an endearing aspect to Icheb's maturation. You know, before he was brutally murdered and everything.


Kevin: I have never been a....fan....of Garret Wang's acting, but while I won't say he's a revelation here, I think he did very okay. I will say that my eye roll at the plot aside, both Dawson and Intiraymi nailed the comedy of it. The little look she gave before giving Icheb the face-saving lie was perfect.

Matthew: I though Wang brought a good quality to the role here. Is it the best characterization, and does Kim make good decisions? No. But I believed Garret Wang's emotional investment in the proceedings. I thought Intiraymi was excellent, with a lot of subtle looks and gestures that really sold his character's journey.

Kevin: I forgot Ron Glass was in this. He played Book in Firefly and is an all around sterling character actor. He was doing his best, and I liked him when he was on screen, but I do wish the story were more engaging and really took advantage of him.

Matthew: I wish the guest actors had been given the scenes to flesh out their race's motives, because I do think they were capable of selling them to us and deepening the story.

Production Values

Kevin: The Nightingale is a modest redesign of the Maquis fighter. I'm not mad at it, but it's not exactly doing it for me either. It certainly doesn't diminish my sense that this episode was a bit phoned in. That said, the opening pan of Voyager being repaired with the exposed nacelle was pretty nifty.

Matthew: I thought the planet-bound repair CGI was excellent. There were times I forgot I was looking at a fake image and just believed it. The backdrop terrain was also good. Various space effects, like the pulses, were also well done. If I were going to cast some shade on the alien ship, it would be at the interior and graphic design. It looked very late nineties, and not in a good way. How is anyone supposed to derive meaningful information about a rotating cylinder of orange text?


Kevin: This is a pretty tepid 2 from me. If this were earlier in the series, I might be more primed to let this be the episode that makes me care about Harry, but as is, I was just marking time until the end of the episode.

Matthew: I found myself a bit more engaged than you did, but this was not memorable and the "moral" didn't connect with me. So I am in agreement with the 2, for a total of 4.

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