Monday, March 23, 2015

Voyager Re-watch: Initiations

When I was a kid I had long, blond curls that (like me) ran wild. I freaked out if anyone tried to pull a comb through my mop and absolutely refused to let anyone near me with a brush. The fine, abundant but curly nature of my hair means that it tangles easily and stuff gets caught in it all the time. Bugs, twigs, bits of lint, you name it. When I was little, and it was really long and completely unmanageable, the inevitable finally happened--I fell asleep with gum in my mouth and woke up with a wad of Fruit Stripe plastered to my already absurd tresses. There was only one option. I don't know if things are different now but this was the 80s and Pinterest didn't exist. My mom chopped it off.

I was thinking about this recently as I re-watched the second season episode, Initiations. In this one, Chakotay goes off to do some spiritual biz and winds up entangled with a bunch of Kazon jerks. Every time I do a re-watch of Voyager, I'm happy to get away from the initial Delta Quadrant aliens. The Vidiians, the Kazon. I'm just not overly fond of them. With the Vidiians, it's the phage--even though I think it's a fantastic idea for a species, a great idea for Trek, and a perfect idea for Voyager--it just bothers me. I feel bad for them and I loathe them at the same time and those are uncomfortable feelings. With the Kazon, I just feel like these guys are a missed opportunity--a bunch of almost Klingons too goofy to really be a menace. Plus, I don't like what's happening on their heads.

What's in there? Seashells? Banana peels?
Fairly sure that's a Nestle Crunch bar lodged in there. 
These kids don't stand a chance. 
Is it a headdress? Is it an autumnal wreath purchased from Michael's? According to Memory Alpha, it's hair--I guess with some stuff in it. Apparently I'm not the only one who had a problem with the Kazon's coiffure. Lots of Voyager fans sent letters to the studio complaining about this species and their number one issue was the hair. And I suppose it is distracting. But, I think more than anything else, the Kazon just never really seem like a viable threat. They always seem a little ridiculous. They're total jerks who run a jerk society, they're mostly morons and they put loofas in their hair. The loofas are the thing that just pushes it over the edge. It's hard to take them seriously.

They remind me a lot of the Ferengi. It seemed clear in TNG that, initially, they meant for the Ferengi to be a real threat. They were to be Picard's Klingons. But, I mean, come on.
When I was a kid, they were only ever referred to as Butt Heads.
In TNG, these guys were all over the place. They were incompetent at times yet managed to find Picard's (supposed) long-lost son and re-sequence his DNA. It wasn't until DS9 came along (with regular characters who could grow and develop--and actors who did an amazing job filling out those roles) that the Ferengi became anything other than a sub-par Klingon knockoff. 

Interestingly, it's one of those talented actors who manages to bring some much needed gravity to Initiations. Aron Eisenberg, who played Nog in DS9, portrays the Kazon kid trying to earn his Ogla name by murdering the crap out of Chakotay. When it doesn't work, they both have to run away and, in hiding, they each learn more about the other. Both Beltran and Eisenberg bring some real emotion to this episode and I'm fairly sure it's the most I ever like the Kazon. 

Oh, and by the way, my hair is still a crazy mess. That's why yesterday (totally unprovoked by a gum/loofah incident, I assure you) I had it cut. 

1 comment:

  1. The Kazon's hair does look like an autumnal wreath from Michael's - you totally nailed it! :-)


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