Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: The Swarm

So I watched this one at about one o'clock this morning on my phone because I'm still doing family stuff. I couldn't take notes and somehow it's now late at night and I don't know where the time has gone so I'm a little off my head but I'll do my best to write something at least akin to the fifth grade book report version of a recap:

The Swarm finds Voyager navigating into an area of mysteriously hostile space. They can't communicate with the inhabitants of this area but they're fairly sure they aren't wanted. Tuvok suggests maybe they shouldn't just barge on through but Janeway's got places to be! They take a shortcut and run into a swarm (hence the name) of these jerk aliens. Around the same time, The Doctor starts experiencing memory loss which gets progressively worse as the episode wears on.
You know, the weird thing is, I tend to forget about this one. I think I meld it together with the later episode where The Doctor realizes he's forgotten stuff because of a conspiracy/cover up. But I shouldn't forget this one. It's a legitimately great episode and a fantastic example of the way The Doctor continues to evolve. His memory loss is a product of cascade failure (two of the scariest, saddest words in Trek) because he's overtaxed his program, running nearly non-stop for two years. In short, he's losing it because he's evolved and his emotional journey in this episode only serves to provide further evolution.

Often in this one I found myself anticipating Jennifer Lien's absence and dreading it. At first, Kes was pretty much just a bubbly little innocent with a weird jealous boyfriend. But, like The Doctor, she's grown. By the third season she's an excellent nurse, a valuable crew member, and The Doctor's best friend. At one point here she even says, "I've known him most of my life." And it's true. And I believe it. Lien shows mad skillz here as she fights for The Doctor's right to existence, his right not to be erased, to continue to evolve. I love Seven. I love her. But I also love Kes and I think it's possible that Voyager's biggest mistake was jettisoning her character.
Lien and Picardo are both phenomenal in this one and their scenes are further bolstered by some great Janeway/B'Elanna stuff. The Doctor's fast-paced memory loss is devastating and Lien's desperate race to save him is a perfect development for her character. Likewise Voyager's confrontation with the Tholian-web-esque aliens is well done and adds just enough physical drama/action to compliment the episode's emotional core. This one works for me.

At least it did at one o'clock in the morning. Honestly at this point I feel like I may have a developing cascade failure. Or maybe I just need some sleep. Either way, I hope I don't forget this one again.

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