Thursday, June 4, 2015

Star Trek Voyager (Season 3b)

Season 3aSeason 4a

Episode 14 “Alter Ego” 

By the end of the season, I had a hard time remembering what this episode was even trying to do. Kim’s love life is sad, and having him compete with Tuvok for the love of a hologram only makes it more pathetic. The way Trek broaches these holographic relationships is always so uncomfortable. It reads like a different “_graphic” word. And that is the interesting aspect of these stories. They expose the way that porn objectifies people and renders love powerless. The majority of love relationships in Trek are a reflection of this deterioration of love. The individual is so important, that people in relationships are seldom allowed to mean anything to each other. Sexual and romantic partners are interchangeable, and therefore much like porn, meaningless.

Episode 15 “Coda” 

When Janeway becomes mortally wounded, she experiences multiple scenarios where she is coaxed to “go into the light.” As it turns out, it is all a ploy by a being that wants to feed off her soul. All she has to do is resist and he is powerless to take her. It is almost an interesting exploration of an afterlife concept, but it fails to explore the subject as anything more than a puzzle and a trap. It would have been more interesting had this concept reappeared, but it doesn’t so far as I know.

Episode 16 “Blood Fever” 

B’Elanna experiences Pon Farr. This episode is nearly as uncomfortable as Amok Time. It is hard to watch a story about someone basically out of control hormonally speaking. Basically, a sex obsessed teen. This one becomes a bit more interesting as it adds issues such as an unrequited proposal, a sexual attack, and Paris exhibiting high sexual ethics that are at once noble and out of step with current sexual attitudes.

Episode 17 “Unity” 

We get a clue that Voyager has come close to Borg space. Chakotay encounters a society made up of ex-Borg, who use their collective capabilities to defeat anarchy, control Chakotay, and ensure their future. The good that they do is countered by the concern that such power could be used for evil.

Episode 18 “The Darkling” 

This episode is not pulled off all that well. It is mildly interesting to think about the fact that historic “greats” also and often have their darker sides. Hero worship should always be countered with an awareness of humanity including sinful nature. However, that issue is not highlighted well here.

Episode 19 “Rise” 

Basically an action story with spy elements.

Episode 20 “Favorite Son” 

An intriguing horror story where we discover that Harry Kim is actually from the Delta Quadrant, and from a race of aliens that are like those birds that lay their eggs in other species’ nests. Or is he? It is suspicious that there are so few males and that other species in that area of space are so hostile to these Teresians.

Episode 21 “Before and After” 

A high concept story, that might have been cutting-edge or even hard to follow at the time, feels overdone now. We catch on to what is happening fifteen minutes or more sooner than the characters do, and that tries the patience. And, as is often the case in time travel stories, the contrived premise is solved by a contrived solution.

Episode 22 “Real Life” 

The Doctor creates an artificial family to better understand what it is to be human. Only problem is that his family is too perfect. Torres helps him by adding more realism, i.e. conflict and suffering. One wonders if a computer program would really experience the algorithms of programing in the way that the show depicts. And, we get to see that once again, Trek sees suffering and pain as the essence of ideal human existence.

Episode 23 “Distant Origin” 

In an effort to retell the story of Copernicus, the show explores the plausibility of a dinosaur evolving enough to have a super advanced, interstellar faring culture without having left any evidence. And, that culture apparently traveled to the Delta Quadrant centuries ago and developed a religious world-view that denies their origins. It is all very silly, but also interesting in its themes and questions.

Episode 24 “Displaced” 

Another species (that might as well be human, as usual) manages to take over Voyager, this time by overwhelming the crew gradually. The second half of the episode involves the crew escaping from their elaborate prison.

Episode 25 “Worst Case Scenario” 

The crew becomes obsessed with a holoprogram that speculates what it would have been like if the Maquis had mutinied.

Episode 26 “Scorpion (Part 1)” 

As the crew finally cross into Borg space, they encounter an even more formidable threat that is killing the Borg effortlessly. Faced with a choice between an unbeatable enemy and the thing that can kill it, she is at her wits end. Chakotay thinks they should turn back and reevaluate. A holographic version of DaVinci tells Janeway that, when our imagination reaches its limits, it is time to turn to God. Janeway decides instead to deal with the Borg. To be continued…

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