Thursday, October 22, 2015

Voyager Re-Watch: Extreme Risk, In The Flesh, Once Upon a Time

Extreme Risk:
So B'Elanna keeps risking life and limb running dangerous holodeck programs with the safeties off. She's totally checked out of her real life and regular duties and everyone starts worrying about her. Eventually Chakotay pokes around in her holodeck programs and figures out that she's been sort of wigged out ever since she found out all their Maquis friends died back in the Alpha Quadrant.
The idea behind this one is that B'Elanna is so damaged by the constant desertion and death of people she loves that now she's numb and she's just trying to feel something. I have some similar desertion issues and my emotions can be unpredictable but I typically just work out really hard--though this means I also sometimes get hurt. Anyway, Extreme Risk is an interesting episode. We see B'Elanna in a somewhat different light, checked out and depressed rather than invested and emotional and it's an interesting place to be for forty-five minutes.
PS- B'Elanna goes to Neelix and asks for banana pancakes at one point here, hoping to feel better by eating them and remembering her grandma. I made banana pancakes this morning but I ate them too fast to take a picture. Sorry.

In The Flesh:
Here Voyager comes upon a super realistic Starfleet Headquarters simulation and realize pretty quickly (after Chakotay does some serious dating sleuthing) that the simulation was built and is populated by Species 84722302948 who figure humans are a bunch of jerks since they teamed up with the Borg that one time. I still remember watching this one the first time and I remember how intrigued I was by the idea. I love that this hearkens back to Soviet spy training towns and I love that part of what brings Chakotay's alien girlfriend (who, yes, looks just like every other blonde, blue-eyed chick he's been after since Seska broke his heart) around to considering the humans' non-evilness is our literature.
Bonus Points here for Boothby's appearance.

Once Upon A Time:
Everyone groans when Naomi or Neelix show up and this one prominently features both. And, I admit, even I am a little put off by Naomi's holodeck program but I like the bits of payoff at the end are enough to make it worth it. In Once Upon A Time, Ensign Wildman is off on a mission with Tuvok and Tom while Neelix keeps an eye on little Naomi. The trip goes south fast and, as everyone on Voyager works to get their crewmen back, Neelix tries to tamp down his own feelings of loss as he distracts Naomi from the fact that her mom is missing and really should've called by now. Under all the holodeck nonsense this episode has a ton of heart and it makes so much sense for this show, where there's no day care, no teacher, no counselor--they're all just trying to get by and do the best they can and sometimes it takes a village. Tuvok even goes so far as to tell Samantha Wildman that if she dies, he's confident Naomi will be alright because she's surrounded by people who care about her and will do the best they can for her and it's legitimately touching.
The Payoff I mentioned: I love the little snippets of dialogue here where everyone reveals their own Flotter Program experiences and I love that Flotter went so far as to recognize Naomi's mom and mention how she's "all grown up now."I don't know what you watched when you were a kid but people tend to forget that our sensibilities change as we grow up. I loved Mr. Rogers and would have defended him to the death as a child but I was already rolling my eyes at Barney by the time my little sister came along and got obsessed with the big purple dinosaur. Shows for little kids are often fairly grating to adults because they're so simple and repetitive but they're not talking to us are they? They exist to teach kids basic lessons about life and learning and kindness and, in that way, I feel like Naomi's program was pretty much just future PBS and I'm not about to fault it for that.


  1. I just started playing catch-up on season 5 today (and watched all four episodes of disc one), and I just wanted to comment (in an appropriate forum) that my biggest problem with "In the Flesh", was that yes, diplomacy wins after much huff-n-puff, but our intrepid crew ends-up speeding away from this newly-forged relationship - still referring to this species by their Borg designation number! I really hate that the writers didn't take this opportunity to give 8472 a proper name. We had to wait for the books (and the online gaming thingy) to christen them the "Undine", but the only reason I can think of that Voyager didn't name them at this point was for the sake of Paramount branding to keep their stake in maintaining 8472 as a moniker so they wouldn't have any mislabeled action figure boxes on shelves around the world with anal retentive fans bitching for reissued packaging. x-)

  2. PS... In the Flesh also gave us a much-needed update on the head-count of the crew! I've seen this hotly speculated, but according to the Doctor (after verifying that Chakotay had not been replaced by 8472) the crew compliment by this time was 127. "That's 2 down and 125 to go". So someone must've been keeping actual tabs on how many unfortunate Voyager crew members would never see the Alpha Quadrant again.


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