Friday, June 16, 2017

On Rewatching Star Trek: Voyager - Season 6

Season 6 highlights:

"Equinox, Part II" - A less episodic show would have made better use of the morally bankrupt crew of the Equinox and what they represent to Voyager's crew. Still, it's fun to see a Star Fleet ship who cling fast to their bad morals. And considering some of Janeway's later actions, I'm not sure she has much room to judge....

"Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy" - I'm not sure these bulky fish-like aliens were ever named in the show, but when they appear it's always with a semi-clever and completely greedy scheme. The poor Doctor gets no privacy even in his own head, which means that his Walter Mitty-esque daydreams get peered into by practically everyone.

"Dragon's Teeth" - The enemy of my enemy is my friend - except when your enemy's enemy is a species considered long-extinct that has a thirst for conquest. I always love an episode when those who have our full sympathy in the beginning become antagonists in the end - remember the Trabe in Season 2's "Alliance"?

"One Small Step" - The Star Trek universe is so cushy that it makes our current space program look like the difference between glamping and digging your own toilet hole. Which only reminds me of the incredible courage and curiosity of astronauts. Even Seven of Nine is moved by the story of a long-lost explorer hero, and his lonely fate.

"Blink of an Eye" - This is the kind of story that really needs a novel to tell. The idea of a planet so extremely out of sync with the rest of the galaxy is fascinating, and I love the wax-figure Voyager we get to see. (Also - the Doctor had a son and no one thinks that is important?!)

"Virtuoso" - This is one of my favorite Doctor-centric episodes, when he gets to be virtuoso and clown all in the same story. The tiny but intellectually arrogant Qomar are a great foil to the Doctor as he doesn't even bother resisting his own inborn arrogant impulses, encouraged by their adulation. He gets famous for 15 minutes, just like the rest of us.

"Ashes to Ashes" - What a fabulous premise - a species that reproduces by using the dead of other species. I was talking to some fellow Star Trek nerds, and we speculated that having one of these as a starship captain would be a great character setup for a series. We can dream.... Of course, Voyager uses this premise to shoehorn in a love story for Harry Kim. Poor Kim, he always got a raw deal.

"Live Fast and Prosper" - It is really, really fun to see the alternative universe version of the morally mighty Star Trek characters, even just for a moment. It's amusing that one of the con artists over-invests in his role as Tuvok, too.

"Life Line" - Counselor Troi tries some tricky head-shrinking to get the bickering "father" and "son" in the same room. I do love seeing her and Lt. Barclay pop up with frequency in these later season Voyager shows. (Though how sad is it that Troi's most enduring character trait is loving chocolate ice cream?)

Season 6 losers:

"Barge of the Dead" - Don't get me started on this Klingon religious bullshit. It also annoys me that in a later episode someone asks B'Elanna about her beliefs about the afterlife and she makes zero reference to this nonsense we all had to endure. *Huff.*

"Fair Haven" - Sorry, cute Irish-bartender-hologram-love-interest for Janeway. (It doesn't work on so many levels....) Though the scene where Janeway tweaks with his personality is pretty funny, the rest of this is just a lead-up to a slightly better Fair Haven episode, "Spirit Folk". I've never liked the depictions of the Irish in the Star Trek universe, where they're all basically alcoholic leprechauns with below-average IQs. (Winning most egregious: Enterprise's "Up the Long Ladder", which has a truly offensive portrayal.)

"Memorial" - Isn't forcing unwitting travelers to experience a massacre so intensely and personally that they not only suffer post-traumatic stress, but also misplaced guilt, seem....wrong? I would have blasted the damn thing out of existence and put up a nice plaque, but our super-moralists actually repair it and skip along on their self-congratulatory way.

"Tsunkatse" - This is a gladiator-cliche episode that doesn't add anything to the genre. Maybe if there was more of The Rock's eyebrow game, it would have been better?

"Fury" - While it is nice to see Kes, it's also very troubling that she's become so mentally unbalanced in her dotage. And these last few Voyager seasons rely WAAAY too much on time travel to clean up their messes.

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