Friday, September 11, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: Unity, Darkling, Rise, Favorite Son

Hooray for episode dumps! Man, the number of episodes I've watched this week really reminds me of the original Year of Star Trek. It really takes me back... and makes me a bit twitchy to be honest.

Anyway, over the last couple of days I watched a stretch of interesting episodes. Chakotay, The Doc, Tuvok/Neelix, and Harry all had a chance to shine and, while I like all of these episodes just fine, I don't mind throwing any of them in an episode dump.

Ok, so in this one Chakotay and some Generic Ensign (but not the Generic Ensign, obviously) are wandering around in a shuttle doing some charting in the Necrid Expanse when they land on a planet transmitting a distress signal. When they're attacked Generic Ensign bites it but Chakotay wakes up in the care of a really pretty lady who also happens to be a recovering Borg. (She was taken at Wolf 539, which I think is a nice Easter Egg-type bit of info) Anyway, this one's a nice Chakotay episode and his relationship with Miss Borg, while quick, is meaningful (thanks to Chakotay's short-term Borg implant) and I guess maybe it helps him sort of get over Janeway a bit.
Additionally, Unity is the first episode I can recall that expands the Trek mythology to deepen the Borg's identity--a sophisticated, highly-connected community. Yes, they may strip away your identity but if you ever left, you'd soon feel the loss of your giant machine family. (As we'll soon see.)

You ever read a book or study someone from history and think, "Gee, I wish I was more like them." Well, that's pretty much what The Doctor does here. Except he also has the ability to graft parts of holo-versions of others' personalities onto his own. And then he goes around murdering the crap out of Kes' new boyfriend. Eventually Kes/B'Elanna fix him and they can all go about their merry way, never mind the consequences. This one is, as you'd expect, a great opportunity for Robert Picardo to flex his acting muscles and he's effectively menacing and creepy as FrankenDoctor.

Tuvok has always had it out for Neelix whether he admits it or not. In Rise, they have to come to terms with their uncomfortable relationship. Neelix goes about trying to impress Tuvok and Tuvok goes about being disagreeable and dismissive. Eventually Tuvok finally comes to realize that Neelix isn't a disposable idiot with nothing to give but a valuable, intelligent member of the Voyager's crew. Basically, in this scenario, Tuvok represents every reluctant Star Trek fan who hated/hates Neelix except that Tuvok eventually begrudgingly accepts Neelix.

Favorite Son: 
So this is the one where Harry finds out he's not a lowly ensign who can't even keep a holo-girlfriend but actually a super important part of an alien society with a million potential girlfriends/wives/soul-suckers. This one's kind of a mess. And, reading about its background, that makes sense. Originally this one was going to be played straight--no life-sucking honeys. Harry was going to be an alien for the rest of the series and would have to deal with his new, dual identity forever. But then I guess someone was like, "But we should have a million ladies with sexy times!" And then someone else was like, "Ok but we can't let it be too sexy, we need to be time-slot-appropriate." And then someone else was like, "Also, how about let's just reset everything again at the end so it all goes back to normal." It's a shame. I'd have loved to see the original idea played through. As it is, Harry never gets very much character development even though it seems like he has a lot of potential.

Quick Note: I'm now on Tumblr. I put fanart and original art and that kind of thing over there. So... go follow me. If that's the kind of thing you're into.

Hey Look: I was in Vegas two years ago!

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