Friday, October 2, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: Random Thoughts, Concerning Flight, Mortal Coil, Waking Moments

First of all, I am, once again, out of my hobbit hole. Scott had to work out of town the last couple days and asked if I'd like to come with him. I said yes and wrote a little webcomic about it and put it over on my tumblr so feel free to go have a look.

Alright, on with the episodes:

Random Thoughts:
This one always pisses me off. I mean, obviously, I guess. It's sort of engineered to provoke internal rage, I think. Random Thoughts is the one where Voyager encounters a non-violent and telepathic culture. Tuvok is totally fangirling over this place until they snatch up B'Elanna for *thinking* a violent thought. She's about to have her brain slightly scrambled (I think that's the technical term) by the alien police when Tuvok worms his way into the seedy underbelly of the seemingly benign culture and uncovers a black market for illicit images. He presents his evidence but he's not in time and B'Elanna still gets a bit scrambled because Janeway says they can't pick and choose which rules they follow...except when they totally do.

Concerning Flight:
This is the one where Janeway and DaVinci go on a big weird adventure together. I read that this one was originally titled "DaVinci's Day Out" and that is 9000% accurate. As much as I always wanted to love this one--my dad's an art history prof, remember? I grew up with this stuff--I just never could warm to it completely. It's fine. A bit of a caper--which I like. And DaVinci is played by the glorious John Rhys-Davis and both Janeway and Tuvok wear some fantastic tourist costumes--I would actually wear Janeway's dress in this episode. You know, I think part of it is that it doesn't really feel very much like a Voyager episode. It feels more like a TNG or, even moreso, like a TOS.

Mortal Coil:
This one always breaks my heart a little bit. The ever-bubbly (over-bubbly?) Neelix is killed in a shuttlecraft accident ( yes, Chakotay is there. Never get in a shuttle with Chakotay) and subsequently resurrected by Seven and her Borg tech. (I think we sort of forget Seven has this super power after this episode but we can just gloss over that.) Neelix is grateful but hesitant about life. He isn't the same man he was before and a big part of that is his loss of faith. Before he left on his fateful voyage, he told a teensy Naomi about the Talaxian afterlife--The Great Forest. But when he died, he didn't go there. He didn't see it. He experienced nothingness. And that totally freaks him out. He has to find a way to cope with life now. Ethan Phillips does a wonderful job here and I love the way Neelix' story has developed and will continue to develop as Voyager soars on.

Waking Moments:
Another Chakota-sode! Guys, seriously, I did not set out to make this My Year Of Chakotay but I'm definitely appreciating this character more this year than before. Anyway, in Waking Moments, Voyager encounters a culture who spend their lives in a dream world and they're determined to mess up everyone else's day because of it. If only they had someone on-board who was like, super spiritual and could like...go on a vision que---Oh wait! They do! Chakotay volunteers to head on down to sickbay and do some serious lucid dreaming. I love this one. It's creep factor is turned all the way up and, as Chakotay falls in and out of dreams in a way that is less fancy but as effective as Inception, he gets closer (with The Doc's help) to saving Voyager. This writing, acting, and directing here all play up the inherent eeriness that we all feel when we wonder whether we're truly awake, truly in control.

Oh! Also, is it just me or does it look like Janeway's nightmare might've been caused by her reading up on the old captain's logs a little too much?

Maybe that's just the ever-present fear of a Starfleet Captain--my crew will die, the environmental controls will no longer function and our bodies will be suspended in ice. 

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