Star Trek: Voyager: Fury   Rewatch 
May 7, 2018 6:23 AM - Season 6, Episode 23 - Subscribe

Kes returns, seeking revenge on both Voyager and Janeway. (Because that is totally a thing that Kes would do, right?)

[Some NSFW GIFs that I didn't want to put above the fold]

Memory Alpha took one look at my face and just backed away:

- The writing of this episode began with Rick Berman deciding he wanted the character of Kes to return. The story of "Fury" was not yet written, however, when Kes actress Jennifer Lien accepted an invitation, from Berman, to make a return in the episode. As part of persuading Lien to make the proposed comeback, the creative staff "convinced her it was a terrific story, and thus a good reason to bring Kes back," stated Berman, who was given on-screen credit for having co-written the story, along with Brannon Braga. "[Berman] put it in the writing staff's hands to come up with an idea for her to come back. Brannon spearheaded the story," explained Bryan Fuller, who co-wrote the installment's script with Michael Taylor. Fuller's involvement in this episode was somewhat ironic, as he had started his work on the series by firstly suggesting the method in which Kes would leave the show, in the fourth season outing "The Gift".

- The cockpit of Kes' ship as she enters Voyager is a reuse of the cockpit of the timeship Aeon that Captain Braxton uses in the third season episode "Future's End" and the interior of Kovin's starship in "Retrospect".

- This episode marks the final appearances of Kes (Jennifer Lien), Ensign Samantha Wildman (Nancy Hower), and the Vidiians on the series.

- This episode is the third and final episode to include the complete cast of the show from all seasons. The previous two episodes to do this were "Scorpion, Part II" and "The Gift".

- This episode first establishes the Starfleet guideline "Faster than light, no left or right" or "Maintain a linear trajectory wherever possible, while at warp speed." This is the only episode in any of the modern Star Trek series to place a (suggested) restriction on the movement of a vessel at warp speed. Consequently, this is the only episode wherein the crew of a starship is not able to maneuver at warp speeds.

- During the battle with the Vidiians, Kim warns that reversing thrusters at full power could tear the hull apart, and Chakotay responds, "Then tear it apart!" This is similar to an exchange between Lojur and Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, where the latter orders the former, "Fly her apart, then!" while racing to assist the USS Enterprise-A at Khitomer. This is fitting, as "Tattoo" suggests that Sulu had sponsored Chakotay to Starfleet Academy.

- "We've known each other for how long?"
"Approximately twenty years."
"We've served on three starships together. I was present at your daughter's kolinahr. I consider you one of my closest friends."
"And I regard you with the same esteem."
"I've always been honest with you, but you've been keeping something from me."
"I don't know what you mean."
"Don't you? It took exhaustive research, sifting through teraquads of data, separating fact from rumor, but eventually I arrived at the truth."
(Janeway turns to her replicator and replicates a small cake with a lit candle.) "Happy birthday."

- Janeway and Tuvok

"State your intentions!"

- Seven of Nine, to the old Kes in engineering; also the only line Seven of Nine ever spoke to Kes in the series

Poster's Log:

You may have guessed already that I didn't like this one. In fact, I was going to start off this section with something like "'Fury' made me furious" or something along those lines. But, really, it's just sort of a dull, deep disappointment. It's an essential betrayal of the character on the order of DS9's handlng of Quark in "Profit and Lace", which I likewise hated, although in that case it was with a character that had had a lot more character development at that point. Kes really only had three seasons, but in a way that makes this even worse, because it trashes what little character development that Kes got. The basic premise is that she wants to change her personal history so that she would return herself to Ocampa not long after she came aboard the ship. Her power boost from "The Gift" freaked her out and she didn't think that she could go home again so she wanted to make it not happen in the first place. Which could be justified, but... killing B'Elanna? OK, if it had to be aboard the same ship that she'd be traveling back to, that sort of makes sense, but couldn't she had just shoved B'Elanna out of the way? And then cutting a deal with the fucking Vidiians, of all people, for "safe passage" when she's basically Dark Phoenix? Oh, but she's angry because she blames Voyager for her old age being messed up... but all it takes is a hologram of herself and a brief reminder from Janeway that her trip aboard the ship was her idea to set her straight. And then, of course, the ending, where her going back to Ocampa by herself, 40,000 light years in the other direction, is no biggie. I just can't even.

And, of course, there was all sorts of room for a Kes follow-up episode, one that could have had her and Suspiria, the surviving Nacene, along with the other enhanced Ocampans from "Cold Fire", and some sort of closure there. This was a shabby, dumb, pointless excursion, and it totally didn't have to be.

Poster's Log, supplemental: Speaking of shabby and dumb, this was the capper to the way that the show treated Jennifer Lien, who was a trouper in this episode regardless. One thing that I came to appreciate during the earlier part of the show's rewatch is how much she did with what she was given, and she gave this episode more than it deserved. It especially hurts given how life has treated her in the interim. I'm not going to link to anything, you can look it up, it's pretty sad.

Happy birthday,Tuvok. Wonder what flavor your cake was? (I hope that it wasn't plomeek. Or leola root.)
posted by Halloween Jack (5 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Agreed that it's a mess and it didn't have to be. The thing is, if you sketch out this story's overall beats—"Kes is basically Dark Phoenix and her Ascendening has messed her up psychologically so she tracks down Voyager (using her Gnarly Powers to both locate the ship and traverse the huge distance to it) bent on revenge, which Our Heroes must talk her down from"—you can see how it could be made to work. But this script is sloppy as hell, for the reasons you mentioned. It's hard not to suspect that the writers' room never liked, or at least never gave a crap about, Kes and/or Lien.

At least there are a few fun bits scattered among the wreckage: Samantha Wildman! Joe Carey! And the great Tuvok birthday cake scene.

The MA page also lists the following interesting bit of apocrypha:
In the novel Star Trek: Voyager - String Theory- Evolution, it is revealed that the Kes that appeared in this episode was technically not Kes, but was actually the result of Kes merging with another Ocampan who was undergoing a complex 'pregnancy' with a Nacene, with the Kes depicted here essentially being a manifestation of the darkness within Kes rather than Kes herself.

I can live with that.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 6:50 AM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I caught that bit, and even though it's a bit contrived, it still works better than the episode.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:52 AM on May 7, 2018

Particle of the Week: Tachyons.
Pointless STO Comparison of the Week: Time travel is used as a weapon in numerous points in the metaplot of Star Trek Online, although I generally enjoy its use there.

Ongoing Counts:
* Maximum Possible Photon Torpedoes: -11 due to history being altered, I guess? (3 shots are fired during the Vidiian altercation.)
* Crew: 140.
* Credulity Straining Alpha Quadrant Contacts: 14.
* Janeway's Big Red Button: 2 aborted self-destructs, 1 successful, 2 games of chicken, 1 ramming speed.

* Nope, nope, nope.

Fury parses like a particularly bad fanfic from someone who had never seen Voyager, only read the episode descriptions on Wikipedia. It makes so little sense either as a standalone story or as a part of greater continuity that it defies my ability to even properly critique it: I don't even know where to start with how insultingly stupid this story is. (It only technically qualifies as a story at all - I think of it more as 'a series of noisy and dumb things happening for no reason.')

Speaking of shabby and dumb, this was the capper to the way that the show treated Jennifer Lien, who was a trouper in this episode regardless.

Agreed. That did make me angry, because Lien deserved better treatment.

Basically, my take on it is that Fury isn't the very worst the show has to offer - that dubious honor belongs to stories featuring heavy racism or sexism - but it is a perfect example of the flaws that made me think poorly of the show in general: Voyager never cared about continuity, and this cranks that up to 11 since it doesn't even maintain internal cohesion. Voyager only offered character development rarely, and this throws the very idea of it out. All of this occurs in service of pointless explosions and supposedly shocking stuff that cannot withstand five seconds of scrutiny and wilts in the final minutes anyway.

So... not the worst episode, but I think it's the dumbest. Definitely beats Threshold.
posted by mordax at 8:41 AM on May 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

I need a drink.

The episode looked great. I'll give it that. That pre-credits scene of Kes walking through the corridor. Holy cow.

Everything else, though.

It would take hours to nitpick all the terrible, stupid and sheer nonsensical things about this episode. Knowing what we do about the production, this line is particularly depressing: "They're not my crew. They abandoned me a long time ago."

Yes they did. And Jennifer Lien deserved a much better comeback than this episode.
posted by zarq at 9:15 AM on May 7, 2018 [4 favorites]

As usual, I like this episode more than everybody else here... although even I feel like the Kes plot was a botch job. The big problem is that Kes' psycho atomic meltdown just doesn't fit the sweet, gentle Ocampan we knew. Maybe it could have worked if we'd been following her journey since she left Voyager and we'd seen her accidentally killing people with her powers or something, getting more and more distraught and crazy. But the nice Kes went away and then a few years later she just shows up snarling and ready to betray everybody to the Vidiians, and that's too much of a jump! They probably could have sold it with a super-dramatic monologue from Kes about everything that had gone wrong since she left the ship, but it would have to be one hell of a monologue and we didn't get that. (Even then, I can't see a sane Kes being willing to betray everybody for her own sake. They needed to make it clear her powers had made her irrational, or have her betray everybody for what she saw as a greater cause.)

So they totally botched Kes' motivations, but I remember liking all the sneaking and spectacle of evil Kes and the flashback to early Voyager and Tuvok's hallucinations and stuff. The sad thing is, this may well have been an attempt to do right by Lien. They probably felt a little guilty for dumping her from the show, and they thought this would be a nice showcase episode for her with a lot of drama. That impulse, to give Kes and Lien a proper send-off and make it a big event, wasn't a bad one.

I hadn't known about Lien's troubles. Here's hoping the poor woman gets the help she needs.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:16 PM on May 7, 2018 [3 favorites]

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