Tales from the Cultural Wilderness - Journal

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2005-05-22 Entry: "Voyaging Again"

Apparently we're going on with more Voyager, and the second season kicks off with the episode the BBC always ended the first season with, "The 37s." It starts well, with Voyager picking up a rust trail in space, and then finding an old pickup truck floating amidst the stars. Discovering it's radio is picking up an SOS signal (would an AM radio signal travel that far?) from a nearby planet, they land the ship to investigate. Of course, the ship is either really Engineering heavy, or it defies the law of Gravity when it lands... the front of the ship appears to be much larger than the rear where the landing struts are...

Anyway, the crew find a bunch of people from 1937 in cryogenic suspension in a cave. When they discover one of them is Amelia Earhart, Janeway decides to thaw out her childhood hero and catch up. Clearly this is a dumb idea, but there's nothing like a Star Fleet Captain to blunder into the middle of a disaster! And in this case, it's a bunch of aliens who want to kill them for going in to their shrine. Except, these aren't aliens, they're humans, descended from the people abducted in 1937.

So, an Earth-like world, inhabited by humans, and still 70+ years back to Earth itself, and some of the crew might want to leave the ship and stay...

"Initiations" sees Aaron Eisenberg playing a young Kazon expected to make his first kill to earn his name within the tribe... and his target is Chakotay, alone in a shuttlecraft for some ritual. He's clearly not up to the task as Chakotay rapidly captures him, and then tries to persaude him that he doesn't need to kill people... typical Star Fleet claptrap...

"Projections" is the first appearance of Reg Barclay when the Doctor starts hallucinating. Is he the medical hologram on Voyager, or is he the only human in a holographic representation of Voyager, back on the Jupiter Mining Station? Is he Doctor Zimmerman and married to Kes, or is his program being attacked by some technobabble phenomenon and degrading?

"Elogium" is a pretty dumb episode, but it gives us a little bit more information about the Ocampa lifecycle... at three or four, they go through the titular change, where they become fertile. But they can only reproduce once and have to bond with a mate within 50 hours. The less said about the swarm of creatures outside the ship the better! This episode introduces Ensign Wildman's pregnancy...

"Non Sequitur" sees Harry waking up back in San Franciso... apparently he was turned down for the position on Voyager, so joined Starfleet Engineering to design runabout warp engines. But how did this happen? Especially when he remembers piloting a shuttle back to Voyager! Lucky for him, his non-membership in the crew means that Tom also didn't make it on to the ship and is hanging around in a bar in Marseille... reusing the Chez Sandrine holodeck set.

"Twisted" sees the ship being twisted up like a pretzel by a spatial anomaly. The crew spend the episode, when they're not in the holodeck, wandering altered corridors trying to find other important places in the ship and failing.

"Parturition" is a thoroughly unmemorable episode... or at least, it must be as I can't remember anything about it 24 hours after watching it... even the description in the booklet doesn't ring any bells - Paris and Neelix are sent to Planet Hell together for some away mission, which is clearly a bad thing as Neelix is jealous of Paris' intentions towards Kes.

"Persistance Of Vision" kicks off Saturday morning, and the Captain's holonovel appears to be spilling out of the holodeck and into the rest of her life. Is the Captain going crazy, or is there an alien species at work?

"Tattoo" is another Chakotay episode, this time with memories of looking for jungle tribes with his father, and their legends of sky spirits. In this instance, it vaguely mirrors the search for dilithium on a jungle planet they want to mine. Dull with a capital D.

"Cold Fire" brings up the female Caretaker... she's apparently got an array much like the first one, and she's got a whole bunch of Ocampa with her... they've got extended lifespans, and superior telepathic abilities. And one of them wants to teach Kes how to use the fire in her mind to heat coffee, make plants grow, and burn Tuvok to a crisp. Of course, the Caretaker blames Voyager for the death of the other one...

"Manoeuvres" picks up the Seska / Kazon story again. After staging a dramatic invasion of Voyager, the Kazon make off with transporter technology, and try to form an alliance between them to take the ship. Chakotay decides to take it upon himself to get the transporter back, but gets captured. He's rescued, but Seska has one more surprise... she's now pregnant with his child.

"Resistance" sees Tuvok and B'Elanna captured by some soldiers while on an urgent away mission. They're tortured to find out if they're spies. Janeway is injured and nursed back to health by a man who believes she's his daughter, and helps her rescue her crew because his wife is a prisoner in the same building.

"Prototype" has B'Elanna repairing a very advanced robot and then wanting to create a new prototype power source so the robots can reproduce themselves. Of course, Janeway is against the idea, claiming that it's interfering with a species natural development. The robot resorts to kidnapping B'Elanna and forcing her to build the prototype. When she succeeds, she finds out she's interfering in a war in which the original participants have died out and the robots on each side are all that's left... and she's just given an advantage to the losing side...

The crew try to form "Alliances" in the next episode, when the Kazon cause the death of three crewmembers, and Janeway decides to start playing by their rules. She's on the verge of allying with one of the sects when they discover the species that the Kazon stole all their technology from in the first place. However, their peace negotiations are interrupted by an attack...

"Threshold" is a really, really dumb episode. Tom Paris is sure he can break the Warp threshold of Warp 10, and has spent weeks modifying a shuttlecraft to allow him to do it. He succeeds, and exists at all points in the universe at once. But then he starts to suffer from a strange mutation, that initially kills him, and then turns him in to a strange amphibious newt-like creature... fortunately, he kidnaps Janeway for a mate so the two of them get to start life on a new planet!

Fortunately, "Meld" makes up for the previous episode, with a murder taking place on the ship, and Tuvok having to investigate whodunnit. Of course, with the size of the crew (and the fact that the murderer left his DNA in the scalp wound of the victim) it doesn't take long to solve... but there's that niggling question of motive, and for that, Tuvok attempts a mind-meld with Ensign Suder.

And then things get bad... Suder isn't exactly stable, and his murderous tendencies break down Tuvok's hard fought control of his emotions, leaving him a raging crazy person who strangles holographic Neelixes on the Holodeck (although, it's difficult to blame him, there are times when I'd want to strangle Neelix on the Holodeck!).

Then, feeling keen and eager, I switch to the final disc of Sleepwalkers for the two episodes left.

It starts with a woman having terrors in her dreams... including being stabbed by her husband. And then Nathan and his wife are in a dream with a young girl holding a pink balloon with a smiley face drawn on it. His wife is convinced it's a bad omen - girl lets go of the balloon, Nathan runs to catch it, crosses a road, and starts falling.

Okay, the woman having nightmares is waking up with serious injuries that roughly mirror the dream, and she's convinced that her husband is trying to kill her. Except she's a transplant recipient, and might be having the dreams of the donor!

The second episode here sees fallout from Steve's death, while Kate tries to throw herself in to a case involving her fax machine repair man who's suffocating a stripper in his dreams. Nathan doesn't want to take the case, until the stripper in question calls saying she's having the same dreams.

Kate and Ben go in to the dream, where the fax guy (Alan) pulls Kimberley the stripper off of Kate and suffocates her with a plastic bag. Then Kimberley goes missing in the real world.

Back to Voyager, with "Dreadnought" and they've got an intelligent Cardassian missile to deal with... although why the Caretaker brought that to the Delta Quadrant would be a good question! Anyway, if it were just the Cardassian missile, there wouldn't be a problem, but B'Elanna had previously captured it and reprogrammed it to attack a Cardassian target... and even though it's now targetting the wrong planet, she did too good a job of persuading it that she might be coerced by the Cardassians that she can't get it to stop!

"Death Wish" sees the crew rescue one of the Q from a comet he's been imprisoned in for 300 years. Seems he wanted to commit suicide and the rest of the Continuum locked him up for his own protection! This is a pretty good episode on the whole, although the representation of the Continuum is pretty stupid. And this sees Riker (and the Q we know and put up with from previous shows) make his appearance on Voyager.

"Lifesigns" gives the Doctor some romance when he treats a Vidiian female... she's got a neural implant that allows him to temporarily transfer her memory engrams to the computer and give her a holographic body that's completely healthy... only problem is she might not want to go back once her treatment is complete!

Neelix takes center stage in "Investigations" but fortunately it's really about Tom Paris leaving the crew so he can get captured by Seska and find out who the traitor is on Voyager.

"Deadlock" sees the crew trying to escape the Vidiians by taking a detour through a plasma cloud, which duplicates the ship. After the attempt to repair one ship causes terrible damage to the other (including the loss of Ensign Wildman's baby, and Harry Kim), the Vidiians board the intact Voyager and start to harvest the crew... so the captain gives up the two crewmembers who were lost from the other ship and triggers the self destruct.

"Innocence" sees Tuvok crashed on a planet, caring for three children who are scared of a monster in a cave. Fortunately, it's really just a species that ages backwards, and they're going there to die, so there's no monster. We get some insights into Vulcan parenting here, but what is it with Star Trek and having Vulcans sing?!

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