Sunday, May 14, 2017

On Rewatching Star Trek: Voyager - Season 3

Season 3 highlights:

"False Profits" - The Ferangi are obnoxious uber-capitalists, and that's why I like them. This episode also ties neatly into a Next Generation episode "The Price".

"Future's End, Part I & II" - Sarah Silverman is adorable, and a highlight of this show where Voyager makes a pilgrimage to Earth in 1996. It's funny when the Captain and Commander are more appalled by Venice Beach than they are by any alien culture they've encountered.

"Blood Fever" - When Voyager gets sexy! Of course, this means the idea of sexual tension is dialed to eleven - actually lethal to characters if left unresolved. What would we do without the Pon Farr and those hyper-repressed Vulcans? Tom stays noble as B'Elanna tries to jump his's a charming story to tell their grandchildren someday. Also, in the tag scene, a chilling reminder of enemies to come!

"Macrocosm" - Janeway goes all Rambo on Voyager against disgusting giant viruses that sound like bees. One of my favorites.

"Rise" - This episode is great for Neelix's devastating takedown of Tuvok's supercilious attitude. Tuvok, normally so wise, comes across as arrogantly blind to his own defects, and is finally called on it. Which is exactly how it should be, though without a permanent payoff.

"Displaced" - Alien takeover of Voyager by unusual means. I love sneaky alien plots that prey on that old Federation optimism. It's fun to watch.

"Worst Case Scenario" - Someone's designed a holodeck program that tells the story of a Maquis mutiny aboard Voyager. Unfortunately for the crew who are fans, it's unfinished. Fortunately, the show writers find a great way to add a twist. And to bring back sightings of the inimitable Seska.

Season 3 losers:

"The Swarm" - Two half-baked ideas do not make a compelling episode. I love the idea of a species that has a language the Universal Translator can't handle, and wish that the mystery had been solved in a more satisfying way. It's also touching to see Kes caring for the Doctor as he suffers computer dementia.

"Warlord" - An interesting idea hindered by a poor performance of its lead. Kes is adorable, but "Warlord" proves that Jennifer Lien is best at being whispery and wise, not brutal and powerful.

"Darkling" - Mostly I ding this episode for its casual shrug-off of Kes and Neelix's long-term relationship. Basically we find out in scene two that they're over. They were always a mismatch, but the show invested quite a bit in their relationship. It would have been nice to see some reasons for their breakup.

"Real Life" - When the Doctor creates a Leave It To Beaver-perfect holofamily, B'Elanna is quick to make sure the experience is as effing depressing as possible. I'm sorry, I just can't care about annoying, cliched holocharacters that are programmed by a hologram: there are too many levels of unreality in that scenario.

"Distant Origin" - A REALLY heavy-handed Star Trek take on the plight of scientists from Galileo to Darwin. The reptilian alien design is pretty cool, though, and a nice change from the Weird Nose and Coral Headed species Voyager usually encounters.

Honorable Mention:

"Before and After" - Because of the reference to the "Year of Hell" episode.

"Scorpion" - The idea of a species that scares the Borg is compelling. It's also the first time we meet Jeri Ryan's drone Seven of Nine. The Borg are probably the single greatest idea Star Trek ever had. My only hesitation with this two-parter is that Janeway and her crew never even consider allowing the Borg to be destroyed by their new enemy.

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