Star Trek: Voyager: Investigations   Rewatch 
May 4, 2017 3:14 AM - Season 2, Episode 20 - Subscribe

Liiiive from somewhere in the Delta Quadrant, it's The Neelix Show! Tonight: the juggling talents of Pablo Baytart! Myoooosical guest: Harry "Clarinet" Kimmmm! Plus "Hints for Healthful Living!" (time permitting) …And nowww… heeeeeeeeeeere's NEELIX! [*APPLAUSE*]

Major funding for The Neelix Show is provided by a generous grant from the Memory Alpha Foundation: Committed to educating future generations about Star Trek. With additional support and exhaustive analysis from Viewers Like You. Thank you.

- Executive Producer Michael Piller originally intended for this story to be exclusively shown from the perspective of Neelix's news show. "Michael wanted to use the electronic newspaper as a stylistic device in order to tell the story in a different way," Jeri Taylor recalled. "That meant that we would only experience the story from Neelix's point of view. It meant we would not see Tom Paris on the Kazon ship and we would not be redeeming him by showing him as a hero."

- It was not until after production began on the episode that the decision to portray the story entirely from the point-of-view of Neelix's show was reversed, albeit by Paramount studio executives rather than either of the producers. "We were actually into the shooting of that episode when the studio read it and quite rightly – I was happy for their intercession at this point – said, 'You can't do this. We've got to have the action. We've got to see Tom be a hero,'" remembered Jeri Taylor. "So we went back and [included Paris' heroic escape from the Kazon]."

- King Abdullah bin al-Hussein (then Prince) of Jordan appears as an extra in the teaser of this episode. The cameo was arranged as a surprise for the member of royalty, who was thirty-four years old at that point, by his US advisor, as Abdullah was a noted Star Trek fan. After being put into makeup, given pointed sideburns and then fitted for his uniform (a lieutenant of the medical division), Abdullah rehearsed and shot his scene. He was not permitted to speak, on-screen, as he was not a member of the Screen Actors Guild. Abdullah later reflected, "It was just an opportunity to see how things work in Hollywood, and I've got to hand it to the people of Voyager. I found it very tough, and I was glad that I was a soldier and not an actor, definitely." Abdullah's interactions with Voyager's cast and crew included a party that he subsequently gave for the cast. Abdullah was crowned King of Jordan in 1999. Currently he is the majority local investor of a Star Trek theme park, named Red Sea Astrarium, in the Jordan city Aqaba. The centerpiece of this theme park will be the Star Trek themed space flight adventure created under license from CBS Consumer Products. The park will open for business in 2017.

- Ethan Phillips felt challenged by the lengthy first shot of this episode's teaser. "In 'Investigations', I had a two-page monologue which they could not cut away from because it was just me [talking] to the camera," Phillips recollected. "I got the scene like the day before. That was hard. You would get a week to rehearse that in the theater. I had to sit in bed the night before and study it. I'm used to doing one sentence, three sentences at a time, but this was pages and it was tough."

- Chakotay actor Robert Beltran disliked the particular way in which the long-running story-arc is brought to a conclusion in this episode. "I just didn't like the way they resolved it," Beltran recalled. "One of the more stupid lines that I remember, when they do reveal what really happened with that plot, Janeway says to me, 'We couldn't tell you, because we needed you to be ignorant of this. You did your part very well,' as if he had any choice in the matter."

- The fact that a certain type of shot, a close-up which is intended to be of only actor but in which someone else accidentally moves into the camera's line-of-sight, is called a "dirty single" caused much hilarity on the set of this episode, between Ethan Phillips and Raphael Sbarge. "Ethan sort of hooked onto this [terminology] while we were filming 'Investigations' and, right before the camera would roll, would say in his best Irish accent, 'Oh, it's a dirty single,'" recalled Sbarge. "We then both got into this Irish accent and it became, 'Oh, it's a dirty, dirty single. You're a dirty, dirty dog, you,' and went on and on with that. The crew kept looking at us as if we were nuts but every time we said it we would fall over laughing."

- The fight between Neelix and Jonas, near the end of the installment, involved not only injuries for Jonas but also actual pain for Raphael Sbarge. Laughing, he remembered, "I had a wacky thing happen to me while we were shooting this episode [....] I sort of banged myself up a bit that night while shooting those fight scenes with Ethan. I hit my head on the railing, sliced the tip of one of my fingers open on an exposed nail and, in the scene where Jonas finally goes over the railing, I bruised my rib [....] I guess it was bad astrology or something." Although Sbarge did nearly all his own stunts, filming Jonas' fall to his death made use of a stuntman, Christopher Doyle. However, the wounds Sbarge had accidentally received had long-term consequences, partly as he wasn't able to sleep on the side of his body where he had bruised his rib for about a month thereafter. Recalling another aftereffect, Sbarge chuckled, "Of course, I became a joke on the set. It was like, 'Be careful, there's a paper clip! Don't trip!'"


"Like a lot of people I was too caught up in first impressions to see the truth that was right in front of me. I overlooked his bravery, because I was focusing on his brashness. I ignored his courage because I saw it as arrogance. And I resented his friendliness because I took it for licentiousness. So while this man was giving us his best every minute of every day I was busy judging him. And now he's leaving. I'm proud to say that despite my narrow-mindedness, Thomas Eugene Paris became my friend. I'm going to miss him."

- Neelix


"Hello, Seska. You're looking radiantly maternal."

- Tom Paris


"I know that I've been acting like a jerk for the last couple of months. Unfortunately, I had to behave that way if the spy was going to believe that I really wanted to leave the ship. So, I'd like to apologize to anyone that I might have offended... especially Commander Chakotay, I gave him a pretty hard time. Not that it wasn't a certain amount of fun, mind you."

- Tom Paris


Poster's Log:
I used to work as technical crew on a live morning news* show (* = really weather, fluff, and the same seven or eight headline segments repeated over and over for three hours), and based upon my increasingly atypical experience of having watched such a show every single weekday for close to three years, I can say that if I were on the Voyager crew, I can think of few things that would be worse for my morale than a morning show I felt pressured to watch, let alone one dominated by Neelix. But maybe that's just me; certainly, 24th-century audiences would have had very different degrees of exposure to infotainment formats like this one, which is frankly already a bit of an archaic curiosity. Moreover, viewing it through a TV lens may be less accurate to the writers' intent; Piller described it as a "newspaper," and, in a sense, what we see of it feels more akin to a company newsletter. It always did seem like the sort of thing this ship should have, given its circumstances. (Hell, crew-made shipwide newsletters are, or at least were, a feature of real-life naval vessels.)

Jeri Taylor says she was glad the Paris-disobedience arc was brought to a hasty conclusion, and I'd have to agree. I think they milked that for all they could, and brought it to a satisfying conclusion; in particular, on my first watch I was pretty impressed that they went ahead and had Jonas get vaporized by warp plasma. I also think the closing scene where Paris explains himself on The Neelix Show is cute and endearing.

Which is not to say that I think The Neelix Show itself is cute and endearing. Luckily, we don't see it again, except for one reference in a future season.

Poster's Log, Supplemental:
MA notes that "Neelix promises 'recommendations for new holodeck programs', at least implying a relatively steady flow of holonovels being created by Voyager crew." This might counter the theory promulgated by somebody (probably me) in a previous VOY FF thread about the difficulty in creating new programs and the resultant scarcity thereof. Unless the line is actually intended to mean "Neelix wants the crew to start making new holodeck programs, and is going to use his show to nag people about his ideas," which I guess is plausible. (And that'd also explain why we never hear about these "recommendations" again, since all of his ideas would've just been variations on Lolita…)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (15 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, crap. It's this episode next. Oh well, gotta rewatch it sooner or later...
posted by gusottertrout at 4:04 AM on May 4


I think that it was a pretty good episode, although for completely different reasons than Jeri Taylor. I thought that the Paris/Jonas subplot was actually a pretty good idea in that it's "continuity lite"; you still get your stand-alone shows, but with an undercurrent that eventually comes to a head in a show of its own. Thinking about the continuity-heavy shows that you tend to see these days, I was curious as to how Taylor may have adapted to the new normal, and wasn't terribly surprised (though I felt a little sad for her) that her career seems to have ended before Voyager did. It's just a strikingly different mindset from what we saw on DS9.

That's not to say that the subplot couldn't have been improved; in particular, I think that it could have been made clearer as to why he was willing to go to such extremes; maybe he initially thought that the Kazon could be dealt with by giving them tech or something, but I think that it's also pretty clear that the murderhoboes really aren't very trustworthy. I'd think that that would have become obvious to him well before he was mostly just worried about covering up his own crimes, let alone before Janeway and Tuvok send Paris on an incredibly risky scheme to root out the traitor. It wouldn't even have to be anything really elaborate, just something like, "the other Maquis may bitch about the hardcore Starfleet types, but I really, really hate Starfleet." Also, I think that Janeway could have pointed out to Chakotay, who was really angry (and justifiably so) that he'd been used as a pawn in their scheme, that he was the one who took off in a shuttlecraft after Seska, so maaaaaaaybe it made sense for him to not be in on this particular one in case he got it into his head to try to lone-wolf it again. It made perfect sense for Paris to be the one to get sent, since his whole character up to this point has pretty much been someone who never found a club that he didn't want to get kicked out of. The good-bye scenes do have a certain amount of pathos, and it may not have been clear on first watch that Paris really wasn't leaving, since it's late in the second season and people do leave these shows for one reason or another (as we shall eventually see).

It also makes sense for Neelix to do a show like that; the show is pretty much unnecessary, with a ship that small (and especially with the blind item about the two people who'd started dating, it would have been immediately obvious to the rest of the crew who they were), but then again it's Neelix we're talking about--he seems exactly like the sort of person who will do that sort of chatty newslettery thing, regardless of interest or lack thereof among his ostensible audience. (Ditto the thing about finding reasons not to include the contributions of the one person who seems to be interested in participating/contributing.) Ethan Phillips did sell the monologue, and I appreciated that he recognized the inappropriateness of his behavior re: Tom and Kes. That having been said, I'm also glad that it wasn't a recurring bit.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:04 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Particle of the Week: Verterium cortenide, a densified composite material composed of polysilicate verterium and monocrystal cortenum.
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: Talaxians are a playable character race in STO, but require a lifetime subscription for... some reason.

Ongoing Equipment Tally:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: 27
* Shuttles: Down 3
* Crew: 146, down Jonas. (Alas, poor Jonas, I can't stop imagining him tripping and dying to a paperclip due to the OP.)
* Bio-neural Gelpacks: 47
Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: Holding at 7.

Notes:
* Argh, the Neelix show.

This gets back to our old discussions of 'they just let Neelix do whatever he wants, don't they?' I think maybe Federation citizens are just too non-confrontational for their own good.

I can say that if I were on the Voyager crew, I can think of few things that would be worse for my morale than a morning show I felt pressured to watch, let alone one dominated by Neelix. But maybe that's just me;

I promise it's not just you.

* This is mostly fine.

I thought this subplot worked pretty well. Jonas is particularly good, as he gets increasingly desperate. I laughed when he was interrupted mid-attempted-murder by the Doctor. That was honestly pretty great.

I think that it was a pretty good episode, although for completely different reasons than Jeri Taylor. I thought that the Paris/Jonas subplot was actually a pretty good idea in that it's "continuity lite"; you still get your stand-alone shows, but with an undercurrent that eventually comes to a head in a show of its own.

Agreed. It's my feeling this would've been a better direction for Voyager to go in generally: just some background threads that aren't a huge deal in the moment, (and don't distract from the A-plot of the week), but are paid off maybe a half-season away. I don't think any viewers were confused or put off by what Jonas was up to. Lots of stuff could've gone that way.

Thinking about the continuity-heavy shows that you tend to see these days, I was curious as to how Taylor may have adapted to the new normal, and wasn't terribly surprised (though I felt a little sad for her) that her career seems to have ended before Voyager did. It's just a strikingly different mindset from what we saw on DS9.

It is a shame. The 'continuity-lite' thing seems to be enough for plenty of shows, versus the tighter arcs some stories are told in. (Like, Supernatural is a modern example of where I wished Voyager had gone: mostly story-of-the-week, but with longer threads woven in and big plot stuff mostly for premieres and finales?)

* I feel for Robert Beltran, but I think Jack's right.

Chakotay does have a really bad track record, dealing with Seska. This was a dumb and risky plan, but looping him in probably would've been dumber.

* Neat background details.

I came across the thing about King Abdullah bin al-Hussein researching for an essay in an earlier Voyager thread, and I think it was a cool thing they did there. I especially appreciated how unobtrusive it was - I had no idea that happened when this originally aired.

So... yeah. I felt this was a decent episode. Nothing stellar, could find a lot of particulars to fuss about if I cared to, but it was all right.
posted by mordax at 2:15 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


I loathed this episode the first time I saw it. Didn't like the premise. Didn't like the Neelix show, Really disliked the "let's keep Chakotay in the dark" storyline. Hated the interview with Paris at the end.

I just thought it was badly written. But at this point in its run, the show suffered from uninteresting enemies (the Kazon) and a grating, dislikeable regular (Neelix) that kept getting airtime. A better show would have not dropped the plot point of Chakotay's perceived untrustworthiness in subsequent episodes. Here it's inexplicably played for laughs and is unintentionally cringeworthy.

A competent commander or Captain would not have handled the situation this way. Sisko (Starfleet, military, commanding officer) would never have done this to Kira (former Maquis, subordinate.) It gives the impression that the writers never served in the military. Or have never had to manage people in a business setting.
posted by zarq at 5:29 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]


Fair warning, if you prefer posts trying to point out the more enjoyable aspects of Voyager episodes, you might want to give mine a pass.

If I had to choose one episode to summarize all the problems Voyager had, tone that contained examples of the most ridiculous and short sighted elements that would plague the series throughout its run, this one would be high on the list of choices.

This isn't the hardest episode to sit through, or the most offensive, so I don't know that I'd say it's my least favorite or anything, but it hits every off note it possibly can in terms of story, characters, tone, and general conception about the show in ways that almost perfectly point out the series weaknesses and highlight the distance between the show we ended up with and the show that might have been.

That this was a concluding episode to an ongoing run of segments showing supposed difficulties between Paris and Chakotay first off shows how poorly designed the show was to support a continuing story line and how fucked up the episode slotting was in creating a coherent narrative. This story maybe might have made a little sense if it had come in the first season when we had't already gotten to know Paris and the rest of the crew that well and there was some connection to his introduction as a neer-do-well, but by this point, any gesture to that alleged trait is, at best, a nod to the character sheet they initially developed for him but has nothing to do with the character as he's been played out over the course of the run so far. So too the very idea that one of the bridge crew would actually go against Voyager at this point is so completely idiotic that trying to play it out for the audience benefit, surely not the crews with that senseless plan, carries almost no weight. Paris is no more a wild card than Tuvok or Harry at this point. His alleged edginess was denuded way back in the first few episodes of the series.

So playing this farce out should have fooled no one watching and, from what we see, only in the last episode would it have made any sense as a way to deceive the crew as most of the time the only witnesses to Paris' allegedly dire behavior were the bridge crew. Not only should that be a lousy way to suggest dissension as the bridge staff really wouldn't be likely to spread gossip about it or not talk to Paris or act in any way that the show seems to suggest, tardiness is such weak tea that even if they did believe it, did share gossip about it, and didn't talk to Paris on their own accord, it would scarcely seem reasonable grounds to anyone that he's gone rogue or whatever. But of course Chakotay would fall hard for it, but I'll come back to that later.

So we have this big conclusion to those questions over what the deal was with Paris and the shape of Seska and the murderhoboes plans. (Which were pretty much shapeless it turns out, to no one's surprise.) So after all that tension what's the best way to resolve it? With some exciting cat and mouse game between the two ships, where Seska's genius is pitted against Janeway's superior rationality? Nah, let's give the episode to fucking Neelix since surely that is exactly the kind of big resolution to this dire situation audiences are craving. No, well it can't be helped since the story logic surely makes Neelix the ideal candidate to resolve this issue. Not, you know, one of the crew that actually been involved with Seska, or even just understands how the ship works and has some experience with these situations. Nope, Neelix is ideal because he's well loved for being an annoying pain in the ass. Wait, where did that idea even come from? They're just reading it from those initial character sheets again aren't they? It say Neelix is supposed to be funny and lovable, dammit, so that's what is! Just when they'd managed to make Neelix relatively less annoying and provide some catharsis for the audience with Tuvok strangling him, they have to find a brand new way to point out what an obnoxious overbearing little dick the character is again.

Oh, I know, he doesn't mean to be, I mean he's no Ferengi or anything, Neelix is much more genuine and earnest than that. Neelix really does care, he's a caring guy. He wants to help. How can that be annoying, especially when Phillips plays him without a shade of irony, complexity or deeper motivation. Neelix is what he is, right there on the surface all the time. Which is really kind of a Voyager thing in broader terms, little in the way of hidden depths, other than backstory yet to be plotted out until its needed to fill future episodes. I don't mean the characters don't have inner conflicts, they do! The writers have been very dedicated to laying those out in detail so we can mark them off in the episodes where some writer crutch is needed and nod at how consistent they've been. No, I just mean those "conflicts" are so blatantly charted that they can hardly constitute depth or even normal variation in behavior, they're just the backside of the sandwich boards of traits each character was given at the outset and are needed to provide the obstacles each one must overcome because that's evidently how people work in the future.

The very tidiness of character, the niceness, the earnestness in how the writers and actors defines their personalities makes an arc about espionage an dissension absurd on the face of it. Voyager simply cannot successfully do intrigue of this nature because the characters aren't provided with any basis for it, the writers have shown no interest or aptitude in writing it, and the tone of the show is simply all wrong for it even were those first two conditions not met. There is no tension in the episode beyond whether the viewer can tolerate Neelix long enough to reach the end, the plot itself doesn't carry any. I mean for it to do that, even if one can somehow manage to summon up enough suspension of disbelief to accept there is turmoil, there'd need to be a plot that made sense, some even minimal perception of competence on the part of either the Kazon or Voyager, and plotting that doesn't require machine magic, coincidence, and accepting bizarre and inexplicable behavior to enjoy.

It is really astonishing how completely this episode manages to highlight the worst elements of every single character so thoroughly and, as a bonus, make all the plot points dopey too. Just because this episode annoys me so, I'm gonna list the problems I had with it for some degree of completeness sake.

For starters, as has happened since the beginning of the series, the writers come up with an idea and its overridden by the producers. Would a show filmed entirely around a Neelix TV POV have been better? Who knows? But it was at least a more original take than what they ended up with.

Once again there is an ongoing plot thread started by some writers that was deemed not worth following by another writer and an episode was written to abort it prematurely, according to Taylor. So not only were the producers interfering, the writers couldn't get on the same page over what they wanted the show and characters to do. Not a sign of a clear direction for the series or a strong guiding vision.

The plot itself is so damn stupid that it scarcely deserves notice as a reasonable handling of the specific plot threads in the show or how a Trek crew would possibly deal with any such matter in any general sense. To review, Tuvok and Janeway became aware that someone was sending messages from Voyager. They suspected a traitor was communicating with the Kazon. In order to draw out that traitor they had the brilliant idea of having Paris act increasingly unhappy for "a couple months" by mostly acting out in senior bridge staff meetings or on the bridge where the only witnesses present were those least likely to be involved in a conspiracy knowing that somehow word would leak about of Paris' actions to parties who may be in on the conspiracy.
Somehow, at just the right time, before any acts of sabotage had actually happened, even though they wouldn't have known such acts would take so long to occur, they happen to conveniently run into a Talaxian convoy eager to take on a disgruntled button pilot from the Delta quadrant death ship. This timing happened to fit perfectly with Paris' acting out, so he leaves Voyager with the seeming expectation that the Kazon will raid the Talaxians, not cause any harm to the convoy, take Paris on to their ship, where Seska will point out her lack of trust in Tom, then immediately leave him alone with their communications system, where Tom will run some magic machine doohickey and find just the message needed to unmask the traitor before miraculously effecting an escape due to even more lax security than that on Voyager, which is really saying something. He'll then steal a ship, fly back to Voyager under fire and manage to tell Janeway of the traitor's name and warn them of a Kazon ground force(?) on the planet they happened to be heading to due to the amazing timing of the sabotage and his capture and escape just a second before passing out. And somehow that was thought the easier plan than scanning their own equipment or otherwise seeking out the traitor on Voyager itself.

Seska a devious genius in overriding ship security on Voyager becomes a complete rube once she joins the Kazon, essentially, letting Paris do the same thing Chakotay did to them earlier, but this time providing even more help in making it happen without any personal interests involved. And just to reiterate an ongoing annoyance, Seska's contact and joining of the Kazon should not only have been enough warning for Voyager to actually do something about ship security, but is still totally unmotivated in any sensible way. There has never been a good reason given for Seska's alliance with the Kazon and it's frankly stupid on the face of it. The show once again nods towards the Maquis without really thinking anything through about them as a group or individuals and once again makes the big threat of this part of the Delta quandrant, the murderhoboes, look more like murderbozoes, completely undermining interest in them, any alleged parallels they were trying to create and, if one did take somehow stumble into actually noting such parallels, makes them offense by dint of the incompetence. The only saving grace potentially being the match between Kazon incompetence and that of Voyager's own crew as written.

Speaking of security, once again Tuvok is completely overmatched by security challenges. What he brings to the ship in this regard is a mystery as he's constantly fooled or beaten by even the mildest of challenges to regular lax operations. His on again off again distrust of Chakotay makes little sense other than as a "hey we can use that" plot point, when, really, logic would dictate he move his own ass out of the security role for the betterment of all at this point. So obvious is this that even freaking Neelix can feel free to ignore him when warned to not pursue his "investigation" without feeling any threat, and rightly so since the threat is as empty as the rest of Tuvok's security measures, leading to more benefit when ignored than followed.

B'Elanna, chief engineer or head of the ship maintenance department? Evidently there is little difference on Voyager despite having those hundred some extra crewmen without any clearly defined roles. I'm surprised there aren't regular calls to "engineering" asking for lightbulbs to be changed or floors to be mopped. I mean, of course, Neelix would go there to find out about ship communications as there certainly would be any specialists dealing with that on board, and once there just happen to speak with Jonas right away as who else would he talk to?

Jonas, who cleverly allowed himself almost to get blown up in order to, well, I'm not sure what, has Neelix momentarily fooled, but quickly wilts under the white hot investigative glare of Neelix's questioning. Clever enough to avoid detection by Tuvok, not saying much, but his method caught out in seconds by Neelix. (With such a sharp eye for detail, maybe Neelix should be head of security and Tuvok put in the kitchen.) Jonas, rightly worried about Neelix's unyielding determination, immediately incriminates himself by trying to incriminate Paris, roughly the same thing that Seska tried and failed at. But Neelix has the brilliant idea of airing this seeming information on his TV show rather than talking to Tuvok, well can't blame him for that, or Janeway first, which causes the series of mistakes, matched in timing with Paris' heroics that unmask Jonas as the traitor. Whew! A great example of the importance of freedom of the press even in matters of state security!

We have Harry to thank for this, since it has he who set Neelix on this course of action through his inspiring speech on his own high school journalism career. Actually, that's about right for Harry, so no complaints there. It seems exactly the sort of thing his character would have done and would stand up for without thought of who he's saying it to and how that might be interpreted. So even in this episode Harry comes off pretty well, if one can ignore the problem of his not having talked to Paris about his actions earlier or even got a scene saying goodbye to Tom, which is completely out of character, but obviously serves nicely as yet another dodge for the writers to avoid examining their premise in any detail. Harry at least gets to probe Janeway a tiny bit over Paris changing his mind and Voyager maybe waiting before moving on, but that's pretty weak tea as a save.

But, hey, at least Harry got that! Kes, as usual, is completely forgotten by the writers. Not only is her reaction to her good friend Tom's actions not noted, no farewell mentioned, even Neelix ignores her in seeking out Tom himself as she was only a device in the more important matter of Paris and Neelix finding friendship, Once that happened she was no longer important to either of them I guess.

In lieu of seeing Harry and Kes saying their goodbyes, something entirely necessary were, even for a moment viewers to take Paris' leaving seriously, something the writers seemed awfully intent on trying to convince people of in their repeated implications Tom wasn't taking his job seriously, yeah, right, we instead get a scene where Tom gets to reiterate his character bio sheet to Neelix as the supposed reason for his wishing to leave, and Neelix reiterating information we already had been repeatedly shown about Paris and often already heard mentioned verbatim as reasons for Tom staying due to his "growth" on Voyager. This tediousness is based around taking that initial character chart and expecting the audience to still give a damn or take Tom's "rebel" nature seriously, which is crazy since it has already been shown, numerous times, to be as much a lie as Tom repetition of those claimed traits to Neelix. If that wasn't enough, and, really, it was more than enough, we then get another scene reiterating Neelix's deeper "changed" feelings about Tom which they already devoted an entire episode to earlier. It's as if somehow they think Neelix is the audience "in" to the show so we have to hear his thoughts on Tom to make plain what any fool would have already known given how limited their imagining of the characters has been thus far.

What is it that they either want or think the audience is getting from Neelix at this point anyway? I mean they just had an episode which made it abundantly clear that Neelix is an intrusive, unctuous, sycophant to the point of Tuvok strangling him, yet somehow they think those same traits play as funny or sympathetic or otherwise interesting to audiences in other uses? It's a flat out failure of characterization and imagination on the part of the writers and Phillips in making Neelix such a pain to this point, and yet they seem intent on that being a necessary component of the show up until Seven comes on and they transfer much of that annoyance to another character.

Oh, and speaking of the doctor, this episode is our first long look at who the doctor will become much of the time in later episodes. They clearly followed the Frasier Crane model of intelligence being linked to vain and boring pomposity as if they are necessary collateral traits tied to knowledge. Each action must have a greater and opposite reaction is like the third law of tedious character development. Start off with the doctor being enjoyable because he's a bit caustic and biting and you must then add opposing traits of greater weakness to keep anyone from feeling inferior ever. See also Tuvok and his utter incompetence in decision making, or, really, Vulcans in general, all so smart until it comes to those really important things like emotions. Even the idea that suppressing emotions somehow makes you smart, up until they're needed of course, is from this same handbook. The doctor isn't unbearable here or never enjoyable later, it's just a forewarning of the limited perspective employed towards the character and those traits more generally later on.

Janeway is really the only character who completely escapes these kinds of limits in both the episode and the series mostly due to her decision making being so incomprehensible as a unified whole. This, along with Mulgrew's portrayal of the character, oddly suggests at least some sense of depth to the character as she is so comparatively opaque by dint of not being easily defined. This can seem like a flaw, I mean some of the decisions made surely are as in this episode, but even so it at least leaves more, heh, space for interpretation and keeps some of the bizarre choices made from ruining the show as the audience will seek to make sense of it despite there not being any in the writing itself at times. Janeway in this way at least feels closer to more recent character design in shows where radical decision making and uncertain motivations are more the norm. It is though an odd match to the rest of the characters in Voyager, other than Kes perhaps when the writers remember she exists I mean, and as such can cause annoyance to fans seeking more clarity since it just isn't there.

Sloppy or inconsistent writing isn't a great thing to depend on in any event since much of it won't have good actors making sense of it by through their own internal consistency. Look, for example, at the moronic resolution to this episode. You've got Neelix and Jonas locked inside engineering, force field up and Tuvok and his security clowns trying to get in. Janeway orders Neelix or Jonas, I can't remember which, transported out, but of course Jonas has removed their com badges! So only the badge is beamed out. First off, why beam just one of them out in the first place? I'd think you'd want both. Secondly if they could be beamed out Tuvok should be able to be beamed in. Thirdly goddamn I hate the security badge transporter nonsense. It's lazy and stupid. Stop it. Starfleet's amazing ship computers, able to create and store hosts of sentient programs, can't lock on to a person on the ship without their combadge, can't override commands by nobody ensigns and officers when senior officers order it to, can't tell if people are on or off the ship, stop shuttles from being launched, prevent hostile intruders from reaching the bridge, can't really do anything that makes the writer's jobs even one little bit more challenging. It's fucking annoying and just doesn't make a lick of sense.

I will give the episode a little credit for incinerating Jonas. Nice touch. Of course that Jonas repeatedly had the chance to kill Neelix and inexplicably passed it up makes no sense, but whatever. It was a good bit more interesting than Paris' escape from Kazon central, which is yet another frequent failing of the show as they seem to put zero time into fight choreography or developing interesting action sequences, yet mysteriously think the absence of craft in those areas are what audiences tune in for.

About Chakotay, this is yet one more example of a reoccurring Voyager failing. There were potentially decent show reasons for not telling Chakotay of the plan since he was involved with Seska. But as it played out it highlights the neither/nor quality to overall writing. Not telling Chakotay means they trust Paris more than him, even though Paris was a prisoner for leaving Starfleet and joining the Maquis and, as we've repeatedly heard, is a loose cannon rebel type. Chakotay would be the one who knew the Maquis members on board best, so if they suspected a Maquis crewmember was the traitor he'd be best placed to figure out who that might be, in theory, and absent the "brilliant" plan they worked out which would surely uncover the traitor in due course. Still Seska's havin' his baby, a wonderful way to say she loves him, so maybe they'd still be hesitant, especially with Tuvok evidently holding a grudge about Chakotay stealing his spot as vice-president of Voyager, (the ceremonial position that actually does nothing, ideal for both Tuvok and Chakotay it seems.) So for reasons that remain opaque since the writers were too busy trying to convince the audience Paris was acting up for deep and mysterious reasons and might really leave instead of giving us insight into command decision making in this instance, they opt to keep Chakotay out of the loop and assume he'll play hard ball with Paris in just the right measure to fulfill their foolproof plot. Chakotay finds out after the fact and is rightly pissed. Well, that is kinda interesting really. It's a plot point that must have been devised to be used later on to further investigate that lingering resentment Voyager has so closely charted between Starfleet and the Maquis. Perhaps it will even develop into some bigger schism in the crew or lead to other developments between crew members and Seska or something. Or maybe they'll just drop it and largely pretend it never happened and things will go on as before with the Voyager bridge being TNGlite. Yeah, it's that last bit and just another of many examples of even interesting ideas dying due to no clear vision of what the show as a whole is trying to do.

There are a lot of good episodes still to come and as a whole the show is still pleasing enough for the good episodes, sometimes good writing, and fine actors involved but this episode is as good a exemplar of the problems the show had, looking at it in hindsight, as any I can think of. It isn't the least enjoyable episode if you don't think about it too much, but its a signal one for the series in many ways.

Oh, and Neelix you fucking nitwit, a daily show interviewing crew members would last for less than half a year before the entire ship had been talked to. I know you like attention, but don't be such an idiot about it. At least push it back to once a week or less.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:23 PM on May 6 [4 favorites]


I had a hunch there was a big one coming, Gus :)

This story maybe might have made a little sense if it had come in the first season when we had't already gotten to know Paris and the rest of the crew that well and there was some connection to his introduction as a neer-do-well, but by this point, any gesture to that alleged trait is, at best, a nod to the character sheet they initially developed for him but has nothing to do with the character as he's been played out over the course of the run so far.

Your remarks about "character sheets" are I think spot-on, but as far as when this arc could have worked, first season would've made more sense plot-wise but possibly wouldn't have resonated at all character-wise. I.e., in the parallel universe where all this was in season one, we might be remarking that these characters aren't well-established enough for us to care yet.

No, well it can't be helped since the story logic surely makes Neelix the ideal candidate to resolve this issue. Not, you know, one of the crew that actually been involved with Seska, or even just understands how the ship works and has some experience with these situations.

This isn't the first time, either, that somebody in the VOY creative staff gets fixated on an idea, and nobody seems willing to point out its critical flaws. (See also the "Paris Noir" episode, "Tattoo," and of course "Threshold.") At least here, they abandoned the "everything from Neelix's POV" idea. It might have made the episode seem bolder and more immediate, but I really think it would've made even less sense in the final analysis.

The writers have been very dedicated to laying those out in detail so we can mark them off in the episodes where some writer crutch is needed and nod at how consistent they've been.

Ouch! But so far at least, I can't disagree. Mrs. CoB has restarted BSG in the past few days, and even though I'm just catching moments of it while I'm in the room, it's reminding me of how much more real those characters were. (And it's not like BSG was vastly superior to VOY in the consistency department, or perhaps more accurately, the long-term-planning department.)

Voyager simply cannot successfully do intrigue of this nature because the characters aren't provided with any basis for it, the writers have shown no interest or aptitude in writing it, and the tone of the show is simply all wrong for it even were those first two conditions not met.

Yeah, had they really stuck with the Maquis stuff—maybe suggested that some of the Starfleet crew began to rankle under Janeway's choices (particularly the big initial one) and were developing Delta-Maquis sympathies, for example—then an atmosphere of intrigue could actually have been really successful, and thus this episode could have had a real Woodward and Bernstein feel, rather than the Jim Henson's Woodward and Bernstein Babies feel that it has.

It's as if somehow they think Neelix is the audience "in" to the show so we have to hear his thoughts on Tom to make plain what any fool would have already known given how limited their imagining of the characters has been thus far.

I wonder if this type of rehashing was deliberate on the part of the writers—maybe because they assumed that a comparatively small proportion of viewers had, up to this point, been watching the show as religiously and attentively as we have. It IS only the second season; DS9 was still laying out a lot of characterization by this time too (though it tended not to take the form of exposition).

This, along with Mulgrew's portrayal of the character, oddly suggests at least some sense of depth to the character as she is so comparatively opaque by dint of not being easily defined.

I've often wondered if the staunch Janeway defenders out there were basing their opinion largely on this (leaning, likely, more heavily on Mulgrew's fine acting). I'm no Janeway hater, but I've always found the character frustrating, and I'm positive it's due to the phenomenon you describe. Not in the sense that I ever descended to the point of obsessively tracking her policy decisions and trying to figure out what kind of captain she is—the source of frustration is more just my inability to pin down her deeper characteristics and motivations. I feel like I could give an impromptu elevator speech about "what kind of person" each other Trek captain is, even including Nu-Kirk. Janeway? I'd draw a blank.

Thirdly goddamn I hate the security badge transporter nonsense. It's lazy and stupid. Stop it. Starfleet's amazing ship computers, able to create and store hosts of sentient programs, can't lock on to a person on the ship without their combadge

I have some dim memory of this being addressed somewhere along the line—like, didn't somebody beam just a combadge one time, then take four seconds to recalibrate the transporter and then beam the actual person? (Maybe this was in noncanon or in one of my RPG campaigns or something.)

Not telling Chakotay means they trust Paris more than him, even though Paris was a prisoner for leaving Starfleet and joining the Maquis and, as we've repeatedly heard, is a loose cannon rebel type.

Actually, I could totally see trusting Paris more; he wasn't a Maquis leader. But that then provokes the question, why is Chakotay the first officer? And if it was always just Janeway's ploy to get Maquis on her side, i.e. for good optics, why not explore that motivation and its consequences? But I belabor the squandered Maquis/Starfleet-tension opportunity.

especially with Tuvok evidently holding a grudge about Chakotay stealing his spot as vice-president of Voyager, (the ceremonial position that actually does nothing, ideal for both Tuvok and Chakotay it seems.)

On this point, anyway, I will defend the choice. TNG established that the first officer's job is the day-to-day of the ship—roster assignments, performance reviews. It's the VP position, and on an average, non-crisis, presumably non-episode kind of day, the captain would likely do less than the XO—and certainly, the XO has much more direct contact with the crew, which is a tidbit that VOY does remember to illustrate. Chakotay does strike me as an organized and diligent sort, which suits the position—but a Vulcan XO on a largely non-Vulcan ship might cause irritation; it happened in TOS after all :)

It isn't the least enjoyable episode if you don't think about it too much

Well then THANKS FOR MAKING US THINK about it so much. Just kidding! That's why we're here.

I suppose one could argue that VOY is consistent in one respect: for the most part, when they put out a weak episode that falls apart upon examination, they keep it speedy and exciting enough that you're eased into shutting down your brain and going along for the ride. I for one found myself doing this frequently through the series, despite being a pretty hardcore Trek fan—and, perhaps because I am, I also found myself getting vaguely annoyed that I kept doing it.

My first two all-the-way-through viewings of VOY were both motivated by the same impulse, one I'd bet was shared by some of you: I'd just finished DS9 and I wasn't ready to leave the Trekiverse. That VOY did not completely lose me by this point in season 2 speaks to either my desperation as a Trek fan or to those consistent VOY attributes that are appealing: the performances, some of the characterization…and the glossiness of the show, a candy-like feeling of immediate Trek-gratification despite the stomachache you know you'll get.

Oh, and Neelix you fucking nitwit, a daily show interviewing crew members would last for less than half a year before the entire ship had been talked to. I know you like attention, but don't be such an idiot about it. At least push it back to once a week or less.

In a better show, this would have been deliberate—it IS a Neelix-y thing to do—and someone like Tuvok or Harry would've pointed it out to him, with Neelix responding "Ah, yes, well, I'm sure I'll think of something."
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:57 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


first season would've made more sense plot-wise but possibly wouldn't have resonated at all character-wise. I.e., in the parallel universe where all this was in season one, we might be remarking that these characters aren't well-established enough for us to care yet.

That's a good point, and, really points to the problem of them not being able to decide on the direction they wanted to take with the show. As it is, they are caught a bit in a no win situation due to not having developed more nuance in the characters or tension in their relationships on Voyager. It may be that there was no way for this episode to really work well no matter what they did at this point, other than relying too heavily on the audience retconning everything to make it fit. Which is lazy, but does at least work a little in Trek series.

It might have made the episode seem bolder and more immediate, but I really think it would've made even less sense in the final analysis.

I'll take bold failures over tame failures any time. A Neelix POV episode might not have made any more sense plotwise, but at least it might had some character relevance the episode lacked as is.


On this point, anyway, I will defend the choice. TNG established that the first officer's job is the day-to-day of the ship—roster assignments, performance reviews. It's the VP position, and on an average, non-crisis, presumably non-episode kind of day, the captain would likely do less than the XO—and certainly, the XO has much more direct contact with the crew, which is a tidbit that VOY does remember to illustrate.


That's a totally fair point, and I concede the argument on those grounds. I was more thinking just in narrative terms where Chakotay is so often useless unless separated from Voyager. It just feels like such a waste of Beltran and the character when they could have done more with him.

Mrs. CoB has restarted BSG in the past few days, and even though I'm just catching moments of it while I'm in the room, it's reminding me of how much more real those characters were. (And it's not like BSG was vastly superior to VOY in the consistency department, or perhaps more accurately, the long-term-planning department.)

Yes, that it exactly. BSG was maddeningly inconsistent with its characters at times, to the point where behavior established in one episode would sometimes be directly contradicted in the next. Yet there is something in that which feels more "real" for being less clearly delineated, since people's action really aren't best defined in terms of absolutes or rigid consistency of action or belief.

Watching some early TOS recently, I was struck by how much more unreal they were content to have the show, operating more on metaphoric lines than concerns over the "reality" of life on the Enterprise and how much better that worked. Kirk too could be surprisingly inconsistent and opaque in in decision making and the show played more with stories that don't have clearly defined resolutions in any absolutist sense which allows them to resonate or linger in the mind more strongly.

Trying to be more "realistic" with Voyager and TNG is something of a trap since their budgets don't allow for the kinds of behavior and interactions needed to do that, while the attempt can make the audience more aware of that lack. Finding a balance is difficult as the show has to focus on so few people and make their interactions carry some sense of the scale and complexity that would actually make sense for their travels. DS9 seems to have chosen to narrow the scope as their path, but Voyager couldn't really do that but wasn't able to make their big scale relationships make sense either. It's the tighter episodes of the show that seem to really work best, where they aren't trying to shoehorn too much unworkable information into a tiny narrative frame that can't possibly contain it.

I had a hunch there was a big one coming, Gus :)

I'm bad, I know, but I just can't help myself sometimes.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:07 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


It's the tighter episodes of the show that seem to really work best, where they aren't trying to shoehorn too much unworkable information into a tiny narrative frame that can't possibly contain it.

Yeah, that squares with three episodes that come to mind as among my favorites ("Timeless," "Living Witness," and "Distant Origin"). I wonder how I'll feel about "Year of Hell" this time; I always felt it was one of the more successful of their ambitious episodes, yet it also always bugged me in a way I was never quite able to pin down.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 12:27 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


Man, every time I throw a softball, someone else really tears into an episode.

*applauds*

I'm bad, I know, but I just can't help myself sometimes.

Nah, this is what keeps me coming back every week - you people all having cool stuff to say. I have actually learned stuff on this rewatch, and it's very neat. Didn't have as much time for it as I might've liked this week, but it seems I didn't need to. :)

I'm no Janeway hater, but I've always found the character frustrating, and I'm positive it's due to the phenomenon you describe. Not in the sense that I ever descended to the point of obsessively tracking her policy decisions and trying to figure out what kind of captain she is—the source of frustration is more just my inability to pin down her deeper characteristics and motivations. I feel like I could give an impromptu elevator speech about "what kind of person" each other Trek captain is, even including Nu-Kirk. Janeway? I'd draw a blank.

Eh. I wouldn't draw a blank, I'd say that there were some factions behind the scenes who each had an interpretation of Janeway and disagreed vociferously about which one was 'correct.' So she's not undefined, she's caught between several different competing depictions with nobody trying to justify the segues or mesh them. (Kate Mulgrew herself famously posited that Janeway was maybe bipolar, and blamed the writers.)

My bet is that people who do like Janeway are attached to one of the several canon takes on her. Like, I am partial to Compassionate Scientist Janeway, but I loathe Dumb Cowboy Janeway.

I also think Janeway suffers somewhat from Trek writers just not being able to write women well. A lot of the things going on with early Janeway come down to weird writer hangups, like the Gothic horror holonovel or her repeated holographic crushes. 'She's a girl so she must need to kiss someone' really feels like a thing on this show, and I feel like that sort of incompetence is never contained to just one problem.

Factor all that in with 'Voyager is not very good, and the buck for the Idiot Ball stops with whoever's captain,' and you have a recipe for Janeway being a total mess. Kate Mulgrew salvages that somewhat with skill and talent, but she's got center stage for all their worst garbage. (B'Ellana, who doesn't have to carry the Idiot Ball so much, and doesn't receive as much attention generally from the writers, seems to fare much better upon review here.)

Just when they'd managed to make Neelix relatively less annoying and provide some catharsis for the audience with Tuvok strangling him, they have to find a brand new way to point out what an obnoxious overbearing little dick the character is again.

As with the episode-of-the-week stuff, the more I watch, the more I feel like Neelix is a throwback to an earlier era of television that they were just convinced they had to have. 'Gotta throw in a dumb mascot/clown guy or the audience won't laugh!' He feels like Orko or Scooby-Doo or Danny Woodburn in that awful Conan the Barbarian TV show. Like, I'm sure this is all on purpose, and they don't understand why it didn't work.

Gotta run, hopefully more blather later. (Also gotta make some notes about Deadlock.)
posted by mordax at 1:56 PM on May 7 [2 favorites]


Oh, and speaking of the doctor, this episode is our first long look at who the doctor will become much of the time in later episodes. They clearly followed the Frasier Crane model of intelligence being linked to vain and boring pomposity as if they are necessary collateral traits tied to knowledge.

Yeah, you're right about that.

This also reminds me of another tangent I meant to go on at some point, and now seems good: I suspect the Doctor's popularity is why Tuvok got sidelined so hard. The Doctor's whole characterization is the stereotypical smart guy, and Vulcans are always the stereotypical smart guy, leaving our writers - and their fairly shallow characterization of everyone - nowhere to go with Tuvok since they doubled up on those. Add that to the Star Trek tradition of 'the head of security is useless,' and Tuvok was basically doomed from the get-go.

(I feel like the Doctor might have originally been conceived of as more of a Pinocchio figure like Data, but I was glad they didn't end up going there.)
posted by mordax at 5:44 PM on May 7


As with the episode-of-the-week stuff, the more I watch, the more I feel like Neelix is a throwback to an earlier era of television that they were just convinced they had to have. 'Gotta throw in a dumb mascot/clown guy or the audience won't laugh!'

See also: Dr. Phlox of Enterprise, although he's less clownish and more of the bemused, eccentric pre-Russell T Davies Doctors Who.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:14 PM on May 7 [1 favorite]


... wow. Now that you bring him up, I realize that I'm actually looking forward to picking apart Enterprise after we finish up Voyager.
posted by mordax at 8:20 PM on May 7


I feel like I could give an impromptu elevator speech about "what kind of person" each other Trek captain is, even including Nu-Kirk. Janeway? I'd draw a blank.

Yeah, I don't think Janeway does sum up well into any easy category or persona, and I'm sure that is due in part to what mordax mentioned about the writers having different and seemingly contradictory takes on her, as well, perhaps, with some difficulty in concept over a woman as captain. But Mulgrew does, to some extent pull those disparate pieces into a whole, and the idea of Janeway being at least somewhat depressive or even bipolar does add some possibilities of connecting her varying choices.

Even if one can't put a simple name to who Janeway is or provide a really clean definition, there are some traits that seem to show up repeatedly. So setting aside the why of that, because no matter how the character came to be we want to see her as a whole rather than simply a writer creation, thinking just about her more unusual attributes can be interesting.

Janeway seems to like her crew and "people" a fair bit, but isn't so interested in commanding them or demanding adherence to specific or rigid structures of behavior. She seems to expect people to act on their own initiative and not require much in the way of guidance. She does this to the point of accepting clearly excessive behavior on the part of crew members as long as they have even a moderately decent reason for acting as they did that doesn't directly conflict with her. She's a hands off commander basically, unless you cross her directly, which is a really bad idea.

She often seems to be at a bit of a remove from the crew and goings on, more in her own head than a part of a group working together, but she also takes advice and criticism well, perhaps due to that. She tends to accept the first reasonably piece of advice she's given too readily perhaps, but will change her mind when a better possibility comes along. All of which can cause crew members some difficulty depending on what advice has been taken or which argument has her ear. It's a very flexible approach to decision making, and one that further suggests she isn't very interested in command per se, but in accomplishment and ideas instead.

It's the valuing of ideas over even ideals that lends an element of impulsiveness to her decision making, where she'll act according to whatever idea seems best in the moment instead of from some more deeply held overarching value at times, or she'll at least allow the value to shift in meaning to suit a reasonable idea. That's the case no matter who the idea comes from given her disinterest in hierarchy, which can lead to crew members both acting beyond their pay grade regularly without any discomfort on her part and to a less settled or more flexible method of operation for Voyager.

At the same time, while she is open and flexible to reasonable ideas, she is also stubborn and downright frightening when pushed to confronting unacceptable outcomes. The flexible and highminded love of ideas on the one side, can become an absolute refusal, up to the self destruction, in accepting an idea or outcome she finds repugnant. She values her thinking more than her existence, in other words, and won't accept actions that might demand she acquiesce in that regard. In the same way, she won't accept being forced into actions she is opposed to or accept any threat to those under her command as simply a "diplomatic" issue. She will resort to whatever force is necessary to bring the situation back into a balanced alignment, including a willingness to sacrifice herself and the ship if necessary to get what she wants.

Her single mindedness when pushed to this extreme is more dangerous than any of the other captains. The mirror universe Janeway must be an absolute terror. It's the two sided nature of Janeway in this regard, with her love of ideas and interest in balance matched to her unyielding drive to maintain that balance at almost any cost if threatened that lends the character something of a manic/depressive feel. The ideas provide buoyancy to the character while lack or excess rumination on single ideas suggests a deeper and much darker undercurrent to her attitudes.

All in all, I find her character fascinating. She's closer to Kirk than Picard in her emotions, but less invested in command than Kirk, more impulsive than instinctive, and less interested in hands on encounters and experience than James T. Janeway takes a more distant approach to engagement preferring meeting of the minds more than the specifics of direct involvement. Due to this, she isn't as able a militaryesque commander as Kirk or Picard nor as much a diplomat as either in standard operational procedures. She is, however, more knowledgeable about her ship, likely more resilient, and ultimately more determined when pushed than either. Kirk or Picard might be able to outmaneuver her, but I wouldn't bet on either of them winning the day against her since Janeway may not be all that interested in winning as such, but she isn't one willing to lose if the stakes matter.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:05 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


the more I watch, the more I feel like Neelix is a throwback to an earlier era of television that they were just convinced they had to have. 'Gotta throw in a dumb mascot/clown guy or the audience won't laugh!' He feels like Orko or Scooby-Doo or Danny Woodburn in that awful Conan the Barbarian TV show.

Yes yes yes. I was thinking this before the pilot even aired. Meaning, I saw the early group photos of the crew and the TV Guide previews, and I immediately started worrying about the Neelix character. (And, to a lesser and less-invested extent, Phlox. (And to a totally uninvested extent, Scotty's little alien slave dude from J. J. Trek.)) At least Quark had an edge right from episode one.

TVTropes on the topic.

The crew roster we've seen so far for Discovery suggests it might not be the sort of show to have a Scooby-Doo (or worse, a Scrappy-Doo), but then again everything about that show seems so fucked up right now that anything is possible.

Kirk or Picard might be able to outmaneuver her, but I wouldn't bet on either of them winning the day against her since Janeway may not be all that interested in winning as such, but she isn't one willing to lose if the stakes matter.

That's really not a bad elevator speech at all! The only counterpoint I can think of is, how much of that is her circumstances shaping her command style?, but you could say the same thing about Picard post-"Best of Both Worlds." And she does demonstrate some of that bulldog tenacity quite early in the show.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:12 AM on May 8 [2 favorites]


I'm thinking of things like her abrupt brush off of the Kazon when they start pushing for crew swapping and, more to the point, insult her and women generally causing Janeway to end the negotiations immediately. And more than that, her seeming constant readiness to destroy Voyager and herself rather than accept an outcome she opposing her convictions. Even the destruction of the Caretaker array seems to fall into the category of Janeway having an excess of determination. Willing to destroy the thing that could send them back to prevent others from accessing it, even as that might better fit Starfleet ideals, and then still being absolutely determined to get back home.

There is also stuff like the series conclusion and this next episode, among other examples, that hint pretty strongly that Janeway can do the grim determination thing better than anyone, especially since it isn't connected to ideas of winning per se. I figure mirror universe Janeway is pretty much the Borg queen, but in it more for the giggles of collecting all available information and with a better end game.
posted by gusottertrout at 4:21 AM on May 8


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