Thursday, September 24, 2015

Star Trek Voyager (Season 5b)

Season 5a—Season 6a

Episode 14 “Bliss” 

Seven and Paris return from an away mission to find that the ship has discovered a worm hole leading home. Things are exciting, and almost too good to be true. Well, actually they ARE too good to be true. Seven finds evidence that the good news is all a ruse to draw the ship into a trap. The crew even knew that at some point, but they are too blinded by their excitement and all the good news to see the truth. This is a good story about the dangers of desire and the way we can be blind to truth when we are given the things we want… or a close approximation.

Episodes 15, 16 “Dark Frontier” 

Janeway plans to aid their journey home by raiding a damaged Borg ship for technology. Their heist is doomed from the start as a Borg queen has her own plans to recover Seven, whom she hopes will aid the Borg’s assimilation of humanity. There is some discussion of loyalty and humanity, but this is an action romp.

Episode 17 “The Disease” 

Harry Kim falls in love with an alien from a xenophobic race, which violates their culture and his orders. In a conversation with Seven he learns that the Borg see love—or more precisely physical attraction leading to biological reproduction—as some sort of disease. Harry gives into this purely physical-chemical understanding of love and defies orders. Some other stuff happens, but this episode is all about the fact that love is nothing more than a mechanical aspect of life. And it seems that that is all it is in most of modern Trek.

Episode 18 “Course: Oblivion” 

Hold that last thought. We are treated to some high sentiment as Paris and Torres are married. But things begin to go wrong with the ship and then the crew. In a nice call-back to an earlier adventure, we learn that we are not witnessing our crew, but the duplicate formed on the inhospitable planet from the episode “Demon.” They have not just enjoyed the conscious life they obtained from copying Voyager, but have begun to think they are that ship and crew. In the end it doesn’t matter though.

Episode 19 “The Fight” 

Chakotay has to communicate with an alien race in another dimension when Voyager is trapped there. The aliens use his genetic propensity for mental illness to speak to him. It is a confusing, but ultimately dry episode. And it doesn’t really explore mental illness in an enlightening or uplifting way.

Episode 20 “Think Tank” 

The crew is placed in a quandary by a group of geniuses and offered a way out by the same group who want Seven to join them as payment for their efforts. And, even though this elite group is supposed to a collection of the greatest minds in the galaxy, they aren’t. Janeway and company outsmart them quite easily. Perhaps this episode is really about how people who think they are mentally superior usually end up being fairly incompetent.

Episode 21 “Juggernaut” 

This is the environmental message episode one occasionally gets in Trek. For a “preachy” episode, it is quite good, but doesn’t require much thought to understand.

Episode 22 “Someone to Watch Over Me” 

The Doctor tries to help Seven learn how to date. And, since this is a retelling of Pygmalion, we aren’t surprised when he falls in love with her. That is, unless we stop to think that he is supposed to be a computer program. There is an amusing side story involving an interaction with a hyper-legalistic culture where their ambassador wants to experience every form of temptation he can.

Episode 23 “11:59” 

Janeway is so proud of her famous ancestor. Only, when she bothers to check into the history of this famous person, she learns that family lore and reality are two different things. All the while we get glimpses of that real history. (But we aren’t that interested.)

Episode 24 “Relativity” 

That future ship tasked with fixing time travel screw-ups is back, trying to stop Voyager from being attacked by a time traveler. This is a time travel story with all its many frustrations and paradoxes, but it is self-aware so it is more entertaining than most.

Episode 25 “Warhead” 

In one of the more preachy stories in Trek, the crew come into contact with an intelligent weapon of mass destruction. Then they have to teach it to embrace peace. Good message, obvious exercise in no subtlety or nuance. I thought it was the war-mongers that see everything in black and white?

Episode 26 “Equinox (Part 1)” 

The cliff-hanger finale sets up a great antagonist consisting of a Star Fleet crew that has lost their moral compass when subjected to the same hardships that Voyager has been through. The alien beings are not just forehead make-up, but do fell a bit “Disney.”

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