Star Trek: Voyager: Resolutions   Rewatch 
May 22, 2017 7:21 AM - Season 2, Episode 25 - Subscribe

"I closed my eyes and sank deeper into the steamy bath, feeling my troubles and worries slip away. I was no longer a starship captain, really, no longer even a scientist after the oddly-precise storm destroyed all my technical equipment but left everything else untouched; now, I was just a woman. 'Everything OK, Kathryn?' I smiled, thinking of the man who was once my second-in-command, but now... now, just a man. A very considerate, thoughtful, available man. 'Better than OK, Com- I mean, Chakotay. Makes me wish that I'd gotten the incurable yet peculiarly asymptomatic space plague earlier. Say, you didn't happen to find a loofah out there, did you?'" -- from Passion's Pesilent Planet, Jane Katrina (pseud.)

Memory Alpha is pretty damn happy that we're dropping the whole "legends of my people" shtick:

- Kenneth Biller had some involvement in this episode's plot, although he wanted the installment to have more of a high-concept science fiction story than it ultimately did. "I had a hand in 'Resolutions' in the sense that I wanted to do a story about Janeway and Chakotay stranded on a planet," he explained, "but I wanted to do a more sci-fi twist on it where they get stranded and Voyager literally left through a time eddy to get home. When they come back Chakotay and Janeway have aged 40 years and have a whole family. Jeri [Taylor] felt it was too reminiscent of [Star Trek: The Next Generation episode] 'Inner Light'. That was kind of the twist I wanted to do on it."

- Jeri Taylor was typically conscious of balancing the depth of emotion exhibited by the character of Janeway, maintaining her authority even in a potentially romantic situation. One early script draft featured more romance between Janeway and Chakotay than in the episode's final version. "There was an earlier version of the script in which it went a little further," Ken Biller revealed. Ultimately, however, the writers intentionally left ambiguous the extent of romance between Janeway and Chakotay. "The audience can answer that for themselves," Biller remarked. "If they want to believe that more went on then they can believe it, and if they would rather not believe it then they need not believe it."

- Chakotay actor Robert Beltran felt that his character's relationship with Janeway, on the planet, was not deep enough. "It's Star Trek romance," Beltran commented, "which means we touch hands and it's supposed to be thrilling." However, Beltran later spoke proudly of the episode, remarking that it "pushed the emotional limits of the character [of Chakotay]." He also said of the episode, "Very interesting script that was, I thought [....] I think that it turned out to be a very good story. I think that it cements our relationship, not necessarily in a romantic way, but certainly a very strong friendship is cemented there, and solidified. I think again some more layers of Chakotay's inner self are stripped bare, and he's very, very vulnerable in this episode." When Beltran was asked about whether he felt Chakotay's duration on the planet in this installment was an appropriate time for the character to express his "true feelings" for Janeway, the actor replied, "Chakotay is definitely not like that. That's just too obvious. He's not the macho go-out-and-get-it type when stuck in a situation like that. If he was, he would have just made a move on her. But that's not Chakotay."

- The duration of the events in this episode transpire over a period of approximately three months, making it one of the longest times the viewers spend with the characters in a single episode of Star Trek that does not involve flashbacks, time travel or resetting the timeline. Nevertheless, Ken Biller ultimately thought this episode insufficiently indicates the passage of time herein. "I was disappointed, because I felt it was repetitive," he commented. "That is another problem with the style of our show – I don't fault Jeri for that at all – which is how to convey the passage of time. If you go back and listen to the ship's logs, the idea was they were months stuck on that planet and I don't think it felt like that when you watched it. Maybe we should have done more to show the passage of time. That was a show that needed a montage sequence or Chakotay to grow a beard or something."

"I'm not sure I can 'define parameters'. But I can tell you a story, an ancient legend among my people. It's about an angry warrior who lived his life in conflict with the rest of his tribe. A man who couldn't find peace, even with the help of his spirit guide. For years he struggled with his discontent. The only satisfaction he ever got came when he was in battle. This made him a hero among his tribe, but the warrior still longed for peace within himself. One day, he and his war party were captured by a neighboring tribe led by a woman warrior. She called on him to join her because her tribe was too small and weak to defend itself from all its enemies. The woman warrior was brave, and beautiful. And very wise. The angry warrior swore to himself that he would stay by her side, doing whatever he could to make her burden lighter. From that point on, her needs would come first. And in that way, the warrior began to know the true meaning of peace. "
"Is that really an ancient legend?"
"No... but that made it easier to say."

- Chakotay and Janeway

Poster's Log:

First, I'd like to say that, even though I find certain elements of the romance plot amusing, I'm not putting down the idea of the romance fanservice itself; that's something that's problematic in fandom in general, looking down on fanservice that's not ostensibly aimed primarily at heterosexual men. (And, as we shall see in just over a season, VOY certainly has no problem providing that sort of fanservice, quite blatantly.) That having been said, hoo boy, are we in orbit around the planet Willtheyjustbangalready in the One Long Tease Alpha system, or what? Especially regarding the oddly-precise plasma storm mentioned above; I mean, Risa isn't as good as that at using weather to facilitate romance, and they've got weather control! The only thing it was lacking was the monkey finding himself or herself a monkey mate, with Chakotay and Janeway exchanging embarrassed but knowing glances. But it was still kind of cute. We get to see Janeway in a number of practical-yet-flattering dresses that, AFAIK, we never see again, and Chakotay looks as if he's dressed for a community theater production of some D.H. Lawrence adaptation. It's still way better than the holodeck romance featuring Lord "Crazy wife in the attic? What crazy wife in the attic?" Studleigh.

As for the rest of the episode, it mostly goes where VOY has gone before, although that's not necessarily a bad thing, as it indicates a certain amount of consistency and even attention to continuity. Can we trust the Vidiians? Well, what do you think? But at least they acknowledge the events of "Deadlock", plus Danara Pel makes a brief appearance, talking to "Shmullus." The crew easily fall into the Urgent Whispered Conversations About The Command mode, but they don't go straight to Bypassing The Captain And Dealing With The Enemy Themselves mode, although I thought that there was something a wee bit ominous about the crew gathering on the bridge while Empathetic Space Pixie was trying to talk sense into Glowering Solitary Vulcan. (Even Hogan was there; enjoy Hogan while you can, folks.) I thought that it was almost sweet that Tuvok didn't immediately put on command red or bump his rank up (Will Riker certainly didn't waste any time putting on the extra pip after Picard was assimilated), but it would have added an extra something if he'd promoted B'Elanna and had the two of them on the bridge with B'Elanna bitching about giving up ops gold and constantly finding excuses to sneak down to engineering "just to check on things." I also liked that Harry was the one to stick his neck out; I've always thought that the idealistic Eternal Ensign would be the Starfleet most likely to go Maquis, and we'll see more of Rebellious Kim in "Timeless."

Poster's Log, Supplemental: Let's not think of Solitary Monkey moping around the abandoned shelter; this episode was sentimental enough without mentally replaying "Jurassic Bark." Whoops, did I say that out loud?
posted by Halloween Jack (22 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Again, I forget the link to Memory Alpha. Still thinking about that poor monkey, I guess.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:24 AM on May 22


Once again allow me to say that you and Cheeses absolutely kill it with these synopses. It's not uncommon to find myself looking forward more to reading them than rewatching the episodes. Nonetheless, a rewatch it will be and I'll add my usual bit of excess later.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:42 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Nice work on the 'Remember Threshold' tag. :)

This episode committed the cardinal sin (in my mind) of being terribly boring. Worse, it's filled with missed opportunities. Worst of all, it makes use of the reset button in a stupid way. The Voyager writers only rarely seemed to understand that if you're going to hit the reset button at the end of the episode, momentous and compelling things should happen between the opening teaser and the end of the show.

You take your two leads and put them on a planet where they are forced to live alone together. Their mission is gone and they're done -- their entire lives have been completely upended. Okay, well isn't this the ideal time to work on deeper, lasting character development? Explore the relationship between the two characters in more depth, in ways that will affect them moving forward?

It's almost as if the writers were afraid of changing the nature of the Chakotay/Janeway relationship beyond the confines of this single episode. We know going in that the show's two leads aren't going to be written off the show. The tension related to that doesn't feel real. So we get to the end and the button has been pushed and what's changed? What have the characters learned about themselves? What have we viewers learned about them?

Not much.

I still don't know what the hell the scenes with the primate were supposed to be about. It was a storyline that went nowhere. I still don't understand how Tuvok can stare down the entire crew over helping his Captain but then do a complete reversal after speaking to Kes for two minutes.

Two bright spots in this episode: Kim and Torres. They're a study in contrasts, as they switch roles.

In these first two seasons, Harry Kim has grown. Here, he's thinking outside the confines of Starfleet regulations and is willing to stand up to his commanding officer -- something that would have been unthinkable for the order-following character when he was first introduced. He used to lecture Paris about not following regulations or showing respect to superior officers. Torres used to call him "Starfleet." He's maturing.

On the other hand, we have Torres. Kim goes to her to see if there's any possibility of a Maquis mutiny. She doesn't seem particularly interested. Remember what she was like at the beginning of season 1? She's maturing, too.

For both, their changes are entirely believable and within character since we've seen them develop over the last two seasons. It's great to see the writers do this. I only wish they had handled Chakotay and Janeway similarly.
posted by zarq at 8:52 AM on May 22 [4 favorites]


Particle of the Week: The unnamed virus.
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: STO allows players to beam to planets with their designated First Officers as they please.

Ongoing Equipment Tally: Rolled forward again, but wait for next week.
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: 27
* Shuttles: Down 3. (First time Chakotay hasn't trashed his shuttle, I think?)
* Crew: 146
* Bio-neural Gelpacks: 47
Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: Holding at 7.

Notes:
* I'm mostly with zarq.

The biggest deal for me here is that the planet is dull as dirt. They don't want to change the relationship between these two. I can see why Beltran is proud of his performance here - both he and Mulgrew, (as ever), do the best they can when dealt a bad script. I admit that I believe the two of them are only close friends, and find their chemistry for that just fine. But I already thought that about them, and feel the episode doesn't teach me anything except 'Janeway likes monkeys.'

... actually, upon further consideration, I guess there's something else, but it's kind of a head-scratcher to me: I believe Chakotay would accept his fate, while Janeway would keep fighting. The thing is, while the characterization is consistent, it strikes me as not good - Chakotay was supposed to be Maquis. So invested in his principles he would quit Starfleet and fight. Despite this, I believe in mellow Romance Planet Chakotay. I think that's a testament to how much they dropped the ball with him.

B'Ellana and Harry do get some personal growth, but I feel like Harry's led the wrong place too. He came from the ship in Deadlock that lost. He's seen the Vidiians literally killing his fellow crew. Having him be the one to push for 'more Vidiians' rang pretty false to me as a result.

I did like Captain Tuvok. Like him, I fail to see what feeling terrible would've accomplished. I also feel like Tuvok would've done a worse job getting them home extra fast, but a much, much better job keeping everybody alive. (I really sympathized with his lectures about this.)

* The outfits killed me.

We get to see Janeway in a number of practical-yet-flattering dresses that, AFAIK, we never see again, and Chakotay looks as if he's dressed for a community theater production of some D.H. Lawrence adaptation.

Yep. That was honestly pretty distracting. Like, 'did Tom Paris do this? I bet Tom Paris packed their clothes.'

* Plot Hole #2...

(Counting Harry as #1.)

So why were they in stasis for 17 days? Shouldn't Janeway have been looking for bugs and bug proteins and monkeyshines the whole time? That seems like a ton of wasted opportunity for a 'capable scientist' to do her work with the support of her crew instead of just Chakotay.

* Plot Hole #3...

As alluded to in the STO comparison: why were they on the same Away team in the first place? That's against Starfleet protocol, as established in maybe every other episode of TNG ever aired.

* Potential Plot Hole #4...

So is Denara Pel in denial, or what? She's a doctor. Vidiian doctors come standard with a device that can literally rip someone's lungs from their body. Does she not know? Is she just a Good Vidiian? This episode did nothing to clarify exactly how much Joe Normal Vidiian knows about the piracy and murder inherent in their practices.

* The intended plot got done on DS9 instead.
I wanted to do a more sci-fi twist on it where they get stranded and Voyager literally left through a time eddy to get home. When they come back Chakotay and Janeway have aged 40 years and have a whole family. Jeri [Taylor] felt it was too reminiscent of [Star Trek: The Next Generation episode] 'Inner Light'. That was kind of the twist I wanted to do on it."
Deep Space Nine went with something like this pitch a year later, except I really liked the DS9 version.

This episode feels a bit like Ex Post Facto, where they just shoehorned in the plot without considering the setup or point of doing a story like this, and so they ended up with a hot mess.
posted by mordax at 10:12 AM on May 22 [1 favorite]


The transition from Tuvok ordering the crew to undergo battle drills, to the Vidiians attacking really threw me for a loop. I thought for sure it was a simulation.

Worst of all, it makes use of the reset button in a stupid way.

I didn't see the ending to this episode as a "reset." At least not in the Star Trek sense, where things can actually be reset. I'm not sure how much continuity actually carries forward, but there were plenty of character moments with both Janeway/Chakotay and the crew that didn't literally get erased.
posted by 2ht at 10:25 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I didn't see the ending to this episode as a "reset." At least not in the Star Trek sense, where things can actually be reset.

The Reset Button is any means by which previously occurring drastic events are made partially or wholly irrelevant by the end of the story.

What I meant was that the episode might as well have never happened in terms of story continuity.

I'm not sure how much continuity actually carries forward

Nothing. The events of this episode are forgotten and never mentioned again. Janeway's relationship with Chakotay is developed further, but not through anything that happens in this episode. This is also the last Voyager episode to feature the Vidiians and Denara Pel.
posted by zarq at 11:25 AM on May 22 [2 favorites]


Oh, other stuff - little distracted this morning and missed a couple thoughts:

* Chakotay's Magical Native American status is annoying as crap.

Memory Alpha is pretty damn happy that we're dropping the whole "legends of my people" shtick:

Oh, no kidding. I was really frustrated with all of that and meant to mention. I think maybe they thought they were clever with the warrior thing, but I just wanted to chew someone out. (Especially because Chakotay's actually pretty fun here when they're not doing that: the bathtub's thoughtful, the joking about camping was pretty good, etc.)

* Meant to talk fanservice too.

First, I'd like to say that, even though I find certain elements of the romance plot amusing, I'm not putting down the idea of the romance fanservice itself; that's something that's problematic in fandom in general, looking down on fanservice that's not ostensibly aimed primarily at heterosexual men

Yeah. This could have been fine. There were sorta shades of Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman here for me. At least a vibe, and potentially follow-through if they'd run with it. And if they had to give Janeway romance subplots, better a real boy than bad hair day or holograms. It might have been an interesting area to go. Plus, it's nice to see women paid attention to there too.

On the other hand, I remember TNG's deal with crew hooking up, so maybe we lucked out after all.

* Neglected to agree with gus, meant to:

Jack, Cheeses, these threads are amazing. A lot of shows, I take or leave depending on how busy I am. (I haven't even started American Gods due to RL being slammed). I have to show up for these ones every time even if I have a lot to do because you both always bring your A-game. Thank you for making this so much fun. Voyager's 20 years old, but this is the first time I've ever looked forward to seeing it. :)
posted by mordax at 12:28 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Nothing. The events of this episode are forgotten and never mentioned again. Janeway's relationship with Chakotay is developed further, but not through anything that happens in this episode.

There are one or two moments in the next twenty or so episodes where the two of them have serious discussions together and (although admittedly I was looking for it) one notices a certain subtle subtext to their facial expressions and body language, though not the dialogue. But that's (A) arguable and (B) all, folks.

I'm OK with this episode, partly because I remember how much less boring it was on first watch. The audacity of stranding them and jumping ahead three months was just enough to make the viewer wonder, "WILL they truly just hit the reset button?" That they do makes the episode not merely a lot more dull on rewatch, but more irritating. All that said, I concur with mordax that Chakotay gets some good bits here. We have to treasure what few good, rich, solid character-development-y episodes we get with him, because IIRC they're scarce.

I also thought the script handled Captain Tuvok well. To me, the way they presented his about-face made sense, fit the character, and was played just close enough to the vest. But basically I won't feel tempted to give up on any episode on rewatch if Tuvok figures into it heavily.

Still thinking about that poor monkey, I guess.

I'm sure the monkey took the knowledge and tools he acquired from the Large Awkward Monkeys and started a Moonwalker-style monkey purge of rival monkey tribes, then threw a duonetic coupler high into the air and got busy evolving into the next Klingon Empire.

Yep. That was honestly pretty distracting. Like, 'did Tom Paris do this? I bet Tom Paris packed their clothes.'

Well, did the dresses have tail holes?

I have to show up for these ones every time even if I have a lot to do because you both always bring your A-game.

Well, here's hoping I don't grow disillusioned once Barbie of Borg shows up!
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 12:36 PM on May 22 [3 favorites]


Well, did the dresses have tail holes?

You almost owed me a new keyboard, good sir. Hahaha.

Oh! On the subject of 'Harry shouldn't have pushed this' - I think maybe Paris should've gotten that character beat, but they went with Harry because his relationship with B'Ellana is more established at this time.

Well, here's hoping I don't grow disillusioned once Barbie of Borg shows up!

Hope so. For what it's worth, I actually like Seven in spite of their skeevy reasoning for adding the character, (and Jennifer Lien being just discarded). It's sort of like... I liked the stories in Crossgen comics, but the over-the-top fanservice made me uncomfortable enough that I don't generally talk about it?
posted by mordax at 12:46 PM on May 22 [2 favorites]


I'm OK with this episode, partly because I remember how much less boring it was on first watch. The audacity of stranding them and jumping ahead three months was just enough to make the viewer wonder, "WILL they truly just hit the reset button?" That they do makes the episode not merely a lot more dull on rewatch, but more irritating.

I've been finding that as I rewatch the series and participate in these posts, that I have stronger opinions than I used to about the show. I deeply appreciate certain things about it, and specific episodes. But man, I did not like the Kazon at all, and certain episodes didn't live up to their storylines. It's frustrating, because there are paths the writers could have taken, but didn't and yet quite a few things they did so showed they cared passionately about the show they were creating.
posted by zarq at 12:51 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Sorry. Hit post by accident.

We're all watching with the benefit of hindsight, and my feelings about many of these episodes has been more acute than I expected. I definitely have more respect for what the writers tried to accomplish now. But I can also see missed opportunities and weird plotlines that go nowhere much more clearly. So I apologize if my complaining in these threads becomes a buzzkill for anyone. I wanted Voyager to succeed, and sometimes it failed to live up to its potential. Of course, in later seasons there were excellent episodes, too. I'll be effusive about them, I promise. :)

Plus I've also seen several other science fiction shows take on similar concepts in the meantime. Stranded. Far from home. Limited supplies and resources. Battlestar Galactica. Stargate Universe. Etc. Those shows were much darker, but they had depth, interesting stories and good character development. I can't help but compare them.
posted by zarq at 1:01 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


And... seconding, thirding, n-thing mordax and others who have said that these posts are fantastic. You've both been doing an amazing job of recapping and analyzing, and adding in little bits and pieces that are fun to pick up on. Thanks very, very much to you both.
posted by zarq at 1:03 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


Plus I've also seen several other science fiction shows take on similar concepts in the meantime. Stranded. Far from home. Limited supplies and resources. Battlestar Galactica. Stargate Universe. Etc. Those shows were much darker, but they had depth, interesting stories and good character development. I can't help but compare them.

I may have posted this here before, but regardless: here's an old interview with Ron Moore, after he'd left VOY (after a relatively short time, compared to his stints on TNG and DS9), and even though he doesn't mention BSG, the roots of his reboot seem to be there, in terms of specifically what he didn't get to do with VOY.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:28 PM on May 22 [4 favorites]


That's one hell of an interview. Absolute must-read for the hardcore Trekkie.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:22 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


I'm going to second gusottertrout's first comment that the detail and thoughtfulness of the posts and analysis everyone contributes is nothing short of amazing. I'm old enough to have caught some of TOS original broadcasts and completely on first reruns and syndication. Most of TNG timed well before I moved overseas. DS9 and VOY became less accessible while I lived in non-English speaking countries so some of this is a first watch in English.

Thanks for all the contributions!
posted by michswiss at 5:54 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Silly question: will we be doing two-parters together, or as separate installments? I just fired up Basics and realized I didn't know the homework. ;)
posted by mordax at 5:21 PM on May 23


We actually Memailed about that :)
IIRC, where we landed was, we'd do every two-parter separately except "The Killing Game" because those were aired back-to-back on the same day. (And presumably the series finale would be one post too.)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 5:39 PM on May 23


That makes total sense, thanks. :)
posted by mordax at 6:03 PM on May 23


This episode suggests that no one was really taking charge of the direction Voyager would follow. A strong showrunner would have killed this one in its infancy before getting even close to production. Instead, it appears, Taylor really wanted to write some fanfic and was able to get the rest of the production staff to go along with it even though it makes almost no sense at all for the larger view of the show.

As it is, its one of the rare examples of a story that would likely actually be improved by an "It's only a dream" framing. Push the more absurd elements even further and have Janeway wake up at the end swearing off coffee before bedtime or something and it might work as some sort of inner monologue for her, but absent that it simply can't work as a stand alone episode in a show that is both intrinsically reliant on continuity yet chooses to ignore that reliance in any detailed sense.

It isn't that the episode is unpleasant. I sort of enjoy seeing Janeway and Chakotay reliving the Blue Lagoon experience, or more to the point, I enjoy watching Beltran and Mulgrew interacting enough to not completely be annoyed by all the flaws in the story even as I can't exactly ignore them either if I spend even a moment or two reflecting on it. I won't belabor the continuing bad Chakotay writing too much where every thought has to be prefaced by "My people..." and some connection to "ancient wisdom" or some such. I could sort of accept Chakotay's live for the moment attitude, in part because it has some sense to it and that Chakotay's attachment to the Maquis seems largely, big surprise, a father thing rather than a fight the power attitude over all. Without the Cardassians being around, its possible I guess that he'd be more willing to simply take what's presented and go with it. It doesn't really contradict anything we've seen, but that's as much due to how poorly they've handled his character as anything else. It is, however, a big hard to believe that he'd be so quick to fully go that route.

Of course trying to pare down the few months they were together on the planet into one episode was always doomed to failure, as was making the relationship seem organic enough to have any lasting effect. Not that they really seemed to want a lasting effect, which, again, points to a big problem with the episode and series as we've talked about before. We do, perhaps, see some glimmer of Chakotay's feelings in a few later shows, but not much and to no end, so the feelings generated by this episode are completely wasted on the characters and the viewers. (Other than in more fanfic writing I guess. That Chakotay would later become involved with Janeway's protege, Seven, is something else too, and also hard to fathom.) In a fanfic or fan service sense it is somewhat appealing to see Chakotay be more the object of desire, where he pledges himself to the stronger woman rather than the more usual reverse of that. There is some feeling too that this episode kind of recaptures whatever idea they were going for in Janeway's gothic romance, as this abandoned together trope with its big storm and alien monkey is also rife with comparisons to other stories. It's those elements that make the episode interesting enough to avoid greater dislike of it, but that's really not enough to justify it.

The would be mutiny on Voyager has nothing much going for it at all. From the doctor's initial giving up on a serum when one obvious was able to be made makes little sense. Tuvok's ready acceptance of simply continuing on doesn't work. The crew waiting to rebel until long after they've ditched the two is silly. Hogan being on team Janeway instead of let's leave the crazy lady who keeps wanting to blow up the ship is dopey. Contacting the Vidiians might have been interesting, but not the way they do it or in how ready everyone is to do so. This would make more sense as one of the many times some crew member acts on their own initiative to solve a problem rather than ringing the dinner bell to invite the zombie apocalypse. Bringing in Denara Schultz "I know nothing, nothing!" isn't a plus as it affects the sense of the earlier episode that humanized the Vidiians, where now they try to put the monster back into them. Good to know doc gave her his private line, though maybe Starfleet should have kept their Uhuras and used more switchboard based communication. A lot easier to stop the Kazon lovers that way. Also nice to see doc was willing to go along with that foolproof plan of exploding anti-matter near his beloved, I mean just enough to disable the ships and not risk her life at all.

I can live with Harry turning mutineer over Janeway to an extent. Paris not joining him seems odd. While B'Elanna submerging herself in work once something was irrecoverable is reasonable enough, though this doesn't really fit that example other than by some pretty excessive brute force to make it seem so. Tuvok's change of lack of heart was weakly motivated, but coming from an implausible initial decision to leave in the first place harder to knock than the overall foolishness which placed him in that spot. Tuvok as commander seemed decent enough in his other orders, but the need to have Voyager knowingly leave Janeway and Chakotay was simply not ever going to make sense, so Tuvok is once again weakened by having placed that as a need for the episode.

The best I can say for this one is that it again affirms how good much of the cast is, particularly Beltran and Mulgrew, and as fanfic it had some promise, but the show couldn't do any of the things necessary to actually make this work either long term or as a stand alone story.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:25 AM on May 24 [3 favorites]


This episode suggests that no one was really taking charge of the direction Voyager would follow. A strong showrunner would have killed this one in its infancy before getting even close to production. Instead, it appears, Taylor really wanted to write some fanfic and was able to get the rest of the production staff to go along with it even though it makes almost no sense at all for the larger view of the show.

Damn, gus, comin' out swinging! But I can't disagree.

The interesting question to me (w/r/t this, and the giant Moore interview) is why. Why did this series lose helm control? This show had tons of talent on both sides of the camera. Why did they seem to eventually give up on their show while they were making it, as Moore suggests (and BTW, the last time I reviewed the MA pages for later seasons, they were a lot more sparse in the behind-the-scenes department than earlier seasons, which might be a reflection of that deadening)? Was it just a really bad example of groupthink? Was it, as Moore kind of hinted, that some of these behind-the-scenes folks—talented and experienced as they were—had just become burned out on Trek? Was there a Bad Apple?

As it is, its one of the rare examples of a story that would likely actually be improved by an "It's only a dream" framing. Push the more absurd elements even further and have Janeway wake up at the end swearing off coffee before bedtime or something and it might work as some sort of inner monologue for her

Hah, yes. We'd buy it, if it was like that. And we'd feel less weird about the reset button, because She Must Never Speak of This.

That Chakotay would later become involved with Janeway's protege, Seven, is something else too, and also hard to fathom.

Pretty sure THAT was a self-consciously arbitrary eleventh-hour twist. I remember the first time I saw that, I went like, "Phh! Okay! Sure! Why not." Like they saw Worf and Troi get together in season 7 and realized, "Hey, this is our last chance to imitate TNG"… ;)
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:35 AM on May 24


Why did this series lose helm control?

I still cling to my theory of excessive and damaging interference from UPN, although a lot of the background info from the Memory Alpha entries tends to mitigate against that--if the showrunners are taking a bullet for a network that hasn't existed for over a decade, they're doing a really good job of making the bad ideas seem like their own. I can see some network exec thinking that they really wanted to attract some of the potential audience for a romance series and pushing this type of story as a possible feeler for such a series. (I was going to say "the type of audience that would go for something like Outlander", and note from the wiki that it was developed by Ron Moore, and that--what are the odds--one of the novels that the series is adapting is titled Voyager.) As it happened, I don't think that any of the shows on UPN at the time would have kept a romance-interested audience, although it's a little hard to tell, as they went through a bunch of programs in their first year.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:37 AM on May 24 [1 favorite]


Yeah, while I don't have any problem believing that UPN "leadership" initiated the confusion over what Voyager was going to be, it seems fairly evident that much of the continuing problems the show had came as much from a too open concept of identity for the show that led to writers hijacking it in varying directions based on which scripts were accepted instead of some more concrete plan. I mean we've read a number of times where one writer decided they didn't like some idea being developed so they wrote a script to end or alter that plan. Episodes push characters one direction that could be built on, only to have another episode push them back the other way, all mostly in some sort of reference to the initial character bios as an excuse.

So Chakotay never develops because they keep going back to the basics with him every time some new idea arises they want to try out. Tuvok is used as an excuse to wrangle in some "exciting" new threat as his Vulcan side allows the writers to treat his lack of emotional response as an empty vessel to act as justification for otherwise unlikely events rather than allowing him to become more developed in his own right. He's married, has kids, likes Janeway, and has no conception of what emotions or actions based upon then even are. Harry barely gets a character, more just reactions to events and most of the redshirt action. And on and on. Growth in the show is haphazard at best, and short of a few unavoidable plot changes, Tom and B'Elanna hooking up and Kes sexed up to Seven, the main engines of development are the actors, not the writing.

I'd be curious to see what the ratings demographics were for Voyager. I get the feeling, rather obviously, that they felt young men weren't watching enough in deciding to axe Kes for Seven, but at, perhaps, some expense of female viewership in doing so. The ratings weren't great during the late second season, with this episode being the low point, and they continued to stay low and slightly decline through the third. Scorpion, the season three end and season four open, spiked the ratings, but they then dropped even lower and stayed down for the rest of the run. There is a good article here from 1999 on the ratings of TNG, DS9, and Voyager that places a lot of the blame on a more saturated market and UPN being a crappy netowrk, and here's a look at the ratings from the original air dates. I found them interesting, but given how strongly female centered without being overtly sexed up the first three seasons are, I have to think there might be something else involved that doesn't show up in the overall ratings. A quick glance at IMDb ratings breakdowns shows, for example, this episode doing considerably better with female raters. (Self identified, anonymous, and in much smaller numbers than males who dominate rating sites.)
posted by gusottertrout at 9:16 AM on May 24 [2 favorites]


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